‘National Food Security Bill is deeply flawed’



New Delhi: Demanding radical changes in the "flawed" National Food Security Bill, activists on Monday sought to tear into the proposed legislation, saying there is no clarity in identification of different socio-economic groups.

The activists of Right to Food Campaign claimed rural people are at the risk of being excluded from the food security system due to the ongoing Socio Economic and Caste Census (SECC-2011) in different states.

"This is a very important act, an opportunity to do something about malnutrition. India has the highest cases of malnutrition. The basic flaw with it is that there is no clarity in identification of the different socio-economic groups," noted economist and former National Advisory Council (NAC) member Jean Dreze told reporters here.

"The Bill which has been passed by the Food Ministry undermines food security, we have a lot of problems with it," rights activist Kavita Srivastava said.

"The Bill is deeply flawed and needs radical change before it is tabled in the Parliament. Its threatens to undermine the Public Distribution System (PDS) by imposing an ill-devised straitjackets on state governments," she added.

Stating that the Bill does not address the issue of malnutrition, child rights activist Dipa Sinha said, "As far as children are concerned, whatever was mentioned in the draft has not come in this proposed Bill."

The Right to Food Campaign will tomorrow hold a Jan Manch in which noted experts and activists like Binayak Sen, Brinda Karat, Javed Akhtar and parliamentarians shall participate.

63-year-old Jagdish Gujjar (OBC) from a village in Jaipur district in Rajasthan, who earns less than Rs 35 per day, said that as per the SECC standards he is not considered poor.

"All the rich in my village have BPL cards. But a poor elderly man like me who doesn't have the strength to do labour work, do not have the benefit," he claimed while citing the flaws in the SECC system.

PTI