Govt should make right to food a fundamental right



New Delhi: With President Pranab Mukherjee calling for erasing poverty, CPI(M) on Thursday said his vision could be implemented only if the government enacted a law to make right to food a fundamental right.

"We can begin the journey to realise this vision, Hon'ble President, only when we enact a law that ensures that every family in our country is provided with 35 kg of foodgrains every month at Rs two per kg," party leader Sitaram Yechury said in an editorial in the forthcoming issue of CPI (M) organ 'People's Democracy'.

The President, in his speech on assuming office yesterday, had said, "There is no humiliation more abusive than hunger.

Trickle-down theories do not address the legitimate aspirations of the poor.

We must lift those at the bottom so that poverty is erased from the dictionary of modern India."

Yechury said, "If there is any sincerity in realising this vision, then the President must direct 'his government' to legislate the right to food as a fundamental right of all our people."

Quoting UN's Global Hunger Index, he said India ranks 67 amongst the 80 countries in the world which suffer from acute hunger of its people, with 25 per cent of the world's hungry today being Indians. According to this index, India ranks even below countries like North Korea and civil war-ridden and now divided Sudan.

The CPI(M) leader's reaction came ahead of the Left parties' plans to organise a five-day protest sit-in outside Parliament from Monday next.

"It is precisely to achieve this objective and, thus, banish hunger from our country that the Left parties are pressurising this UPA government through this five-day dharna before Parliament.

Such popular mobilisations will have to be strengthened in the future in order to create a better India sans hunger and poverty," Yechury said.

PTI