(Dr. krishan Bir Chaudhary)
The Food Security is a situation that respects protects and fulfills the” Right to Food”. The Concept of Right to Food is the embodiment of economical cultural and nutritional values. The National Advisory Council (NAC) constituted on the behest of the UPA chairperson, Mrs. Sonia Gandhi is trying to reach at least the bottom of these values while implementing the proposed National Food Security Act. In this ground set, the NAC decided in its recent meeting to redraft the present Bill. As such the Bill is not going to be presented in the current session of the Parliament. the politics of food knows no such values.
For the people, “Food” is a human right to be achieved to protect their right to live guaranteed in the Article 21 of the Constitution. For politicians, “Food” is a political tool to make use of the peoples' right to vote as a democratic exercise. As such the political will of our body politics is lacking the potentials of enacting a “Law on Food Security”.
An in depth reading of the National Food Security Bill in its present form and the decisions of the recent NAC meeting is indicating that the universal acceptance of a food security law including all Blocs either geographical or social seems a distant feature. As of now, the people have to content with the present food entitlement programmes in poverty reduction.
The mandate of the proposed Act to establish of Food security Fund at the Union Level and State Levels to compensate in case of failure to food provision is itself a nullifying the justifiability of the right to food. With this compensatory provision, failure to provide guaranteed food, will allow the victims to receive the dole and not the required food as a fundamental and basic right. The quantitative restriction of 25 kg or 35 Kg per family per month food supply without guaranteeing the quality of the contents is another flaw.
The Exclusion of Universal Public Distribution System (UPDS) and the inclusion of Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) is another anomaly. The NAC tries to understand the reality of universalisation; but unable to match it with the economic logic.
The NAC with its political, social and action oriented blend of leadership will find it hard to fulfill the process of making Law to provide food security to our millions living under hunger and malnourishment unless and otherwise effective implementation of agrarian reform measures with economic pragmatism by involving small and marginal farmers and landless agricultural workers with a package of easy access to food producing resources.
In this constructive and inclusive development agenda of proving food security to the suffering mass; no provision should be inducted to provide a political tool to the party politicians in the name of framing a “Law For Food Security” .
The ruling government of the Union of India is ruled over by the Maoists. The state governments where the Maoist activities at large are neither willing to check the insurgency nor able counter the ultimate political challenge posed by such forces.
On the other hand the power holding politicians' are busy in employing intermediary business tactics to lease out the forests, minerals and other common property resources of natural origins and safeguarded by our generations to Multi National Corporations and Corporate business houses.
The Supreme Court of India rules that the fundamental right life of the people is a means to achieve the right to food as enshrined in the directive principles of state policy. In this endeavor, the Ruling Governments by adopting the “Doctrine of Trusteeship over natural resources”.
The NAC may consider in its domain to expand the opportunity of making the Right to Food Law for the country and the people who are hunger, malnourished and literally innocent even to understand the root causes of the abject poverty stricken to them.
Ability to enact a Food Security Act recognizing the international human right obligations of Right to Food Law by the Government of India as a state party to the United Nations System is nothing but the Political will of the leaders who are leading the UPA Coalition Government.
The coalition partners of the present UPA government could demonstrate their might in guaranteeing the poor, marginalized and neglected communities with the right to food and prove that the governance of the country is for the people, by the people and of the people as the founding fathers of the Constitution acclaimed.
(Editorial : Kisan Ki Awaaz Magazine)