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Last Game of Last Time: India Election 2014

Government’s “cheap attempts” to woo the voters

by Ram Kumar Mishra, Mumbai(India), 10 February 2014
An inverse banner hanging with a pole showing government's food security program's specialties, introduced on February 1, 2014 to provide highly subsidized grains to the 67% poor people of the county. photo: Ram Kumar Mishra
An inverse banner hanging with a pole showing government's food security program's specialties, introduced on February 1, 2014 to provide highly subsidized grains to the 67% poor people of the county. photo: Ram Kumar Mishra

 

 

Election Commission of India has declared period of election that is going to be in April and May of this year. After the declaration of Election Commission the ruling government United Progressive Alliance has started to woo the voters many ways.

In its last Parliamentary session UPA government has passed a number of bills and resolutions which had been pending for a long period of time. Among those passed bills and resolutions some bills and resolutions were such that had been pending for 60 to 65 years like Lokpal and Lokayukt bill, Land Acquisition bill. Instead of it UPA government has passed many new bills that are tabled in Parliament House and took the shape of law. There are ten most important and controversial bills has passed in Budget Session of Parliament 2013. Sources say the UPA wanted to introduce the Prevention of Communal and Targeted Violence Bill in the session in a fresh bid to lure the minority voters (its fixed vote bank).

Though the Criminal law (Amendment) Bill, 2013, follows public outcry for a stringent punishment for offenders of crime against that women after a 23-year-old medical student was brutally gang-raped and murdered in Delhi. Land Acquisition and Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill, 2011. It was a controversial Land Acquisition Bill to provide a fair compensation and rehabilitation to land owners in both rural and urban areas for the land acquired for developmental projects.

A very important bill was Lokpal and Lokayuktas Bill 2011 that was also passed. The Union Cabinet has cleared the revised Lokpal Bill, meant to check corruption in the country. The move came after anti-corruption activist led by Anna Hazare and his ally Arvind Kejariwal who is now the Delhi Chief Minster and founder of Aam Aadami Party (Common Man Party) held a series of protests to force the government pass this strong bill to check corruption. The revised bill has incorporated 14 of the 16 amendments recommended by the Rajya Sabha (Upper House) Select Committee, which was constituted after the draft bill failed to gather support in the Upper House of the Parliament.

The next is National Food Security Bill. The government introduced this bill in the Lok Sabha (Lower House) in the winter session with an aim to provide food and nutritional security to the citizens by making sure that the poor and needy have access to food at affordable prices. It aims to cover up to 75 percent of rural and 50 percent urban population. Political critics and opposition leaders in Parliament had addressed this bill as a last and biggest game to the UPA government to lure the voters. When this bill came into force Congress’ Vice President Mr. Rahul Gandhi said this bill was a dream of her mother (Congress President and UPA Chair Person Smt. Soniya Gandhi).

Importance of this bill might be understood by these words, "Our food grains position is, therefore, comfortable. The total stock of food grains with the public sector agencies was 662 lakh tons on 1st February 2013, including 307 lakh tons of wheat and over 353 lakh tons of rice. My Government is committed to enacting the National Food Security Bill, having received the recommendations of the Standing Committee." These words have been stated in President’s Budget session address in 2013.

But the ground reality is very far from the commitments and promises of central government. Congress is saying that this bill will wipe out hunger and malnutrition from the country. Because this bill will legally entitle 67 per cent of the population to get highly subsidized grains by the channel of Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS). The beneficiary will get rice Rs. 3 per Kg. wheat Rs. 2 per Kg. and coarse grains Rs. 1 per Kg. this way no man will sleep hungry.

On February 1, of the year government launched its food security bill by distributing highly subsidized grains through their running distributing channels to the beneficiaries throughout the country. On the same day a slogan also circulated by hoardings, banners print and electronic media- HARIT KRANTI KE BAAD ANNA KRANTI (Grain Revolution after Green Revolution). 

People are in row for buying subsidized grains on State government run rationing shop in Mumbai. photo: Ram Kumar Mishra
People are in row for buying subsidized grains on State government run rationing shop in Mumbai. photo: Ram Kumar Mishra

Economic experts have different views and statics in the contrary data presented by the government. They are saying that new Food Security Bill expands that coverage as a cost of about 1.35 per cent of GDP. Now government has to buy 62 million tones grains form the outside.

The next issue is corruption in distribution system. There is no one who can give surety that the subsidized grains will be distributed among the needy persons; no black marketing will be in distribution system. A common man also understands all these game changer planes and politics, but it is time to wait and watch for all to get final result.     

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