A debate over food, calories and costs



It’s rare to see Parliament function these days. But when it does, it isn’t an embarrassment. In the much-awaited debate on the Food Security Bill in the Lok Sabha, members marshaled statistics and formulated arguments to put across their party’s standpoint.

On the whole, it was an enriching experience for the listeners.

The beauty of it all was that speakers competed over improving the provisions of the Bill. The broad cross-party consensus in its favour did not deter them from seeking to show the law as a half step towards “fighting hunger.” The BJP’s Murli Manohar Joshi focused on various aspects of the Bill to expose its soft underbelly in terms of past research and studies that prescribed quantities higher than the five kg per person monthly allocation of food grain the legislation promised.

“You cannot eradicate hunger by providing 166 gm food grain per day,” he declared to conclude: “It’s a vote security, not a food security legislation by the government that’s on its way out.”

The CPI and the SP had their own reservations against the Bill they wanted improved in terms of what it promised to the identified poor. They at once worried that farmers might be the eventual losers if the government sought to curtail expenses by putting a freeze on minimum support price for food grains.

The answer Congress president Sonia Gandhi had for the skeptics was that the initiative has to be taken forward, regardless of the pitfalls. If the PDS isn’t effective, it has to be improved; resources if scarce have to be organized.

The moral of it all was that legislation making can only be perfected through debates, not arrogant walkouts or boycott of proceedings. Public money must be spent with caution that can only come when Parliament does its job of keeping a watch on the government, question it for the faults and make it accountable for costly or graft-driven lapses.

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  • just saying

    with an eye on the 2014 elections , congress is desperate to bag some medals for itself so that it can proudfully boast of carving out the telangana statehood along with the poorly implemented programmes of mnrega , and food security bill. the demand for a seperate state of telangana were simmering since inependence but the congress kept dilli-dallying it , planning to use it an appropriate time to gain short term electoral dividends.congress promised the seperate statehood to telangana in its manifesto during 2004 poll and it has been shying running away for the issue since then , now when it has almost nothing to hide
    its politcal failures,this serves as a distraction .morover, the party was itself breaking over the andhra pradesh bifurcation, and to hold its own it finally gave the nod for state reorganisation committee.

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  • Bijwat

    The impression that Congress took a hasty decision just before the poll after wasting more than nine years, is firmly embedded in the minds of voters. The unrest in AP and throughout India has already started. Therefore it is definite that Congress ship cannot escape sinking.

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  • Nation Builder

    Congress has always kept power interests above nation interest. It can go to any level to retain power, the country be damned.

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  • goldie

    claps claps claps….baba rey…such deep wisdom…!1

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  • Anonymous

    Bring your MLAs/MPs/Ministers/Speaker/Chief Minister family members to middle of the road and tell them to do fast-unto death

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  • Anonymous

    ‘Bhaago Italy Movement’ has started in Andhra Pradesh,India

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  • ABHACHAWLAMOHANTY

    ALL PARTIES CONNECT BY UMBILICUS, OF,” VOTE..”..

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  • ABHACHAWLAMOHANTY

    ALL PARTIES CONNECT BY ,..UMBILICUS ,…OF VOTE!

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  • Praveen Saxena

    “The moral of it all was that legislation making can only be perfected through debates, not arrogant walkouts or boycott of proceedings. Public money must be spent with caution that can only come when Parliament does its job of keeping a watch on the government, question it for the faults and make it accountable for costly or graft-driven lapses.”
    …we hope that you retain this sane advice for the next Opposition …

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  • sunafi

    “The moral of it all was that legislation making can only be perfected through debates, not arrogant walkouts or boycott of proceedings.” – Truth parliamentarian who rule India and parliament has no importance or power. for example, Lokpal bill never got pass even after making promises, but when PM wished Nuclear Bill, Sonia jee wished food security bill, Kapil sahab & most of parliamentarian wished Amendment against supreme-court ruling; nothing could stop them. Where their is will there is a way. Parliamentarian has no values but only wishes.

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  • (Dr.) B.N. Anand

    “Crisis looms large on India’s economy”, that is what we read as headlines in HT today. This is after the FSB was passed the other day. The govt. and the political parties are so confused because of 2014 elections that they all simply want to make announcements and make laws on paper. Who cares for their implementation. FSB is in itself in contradiction about what the govt. statistics put in Parliament. It is said that only 22% are poor in the country but make more than 80% eligible poor for this food to be provided at the govt. cost. It is beyond comprehension. There is also another point. If the govt. was so honest to care for the poor and hungry population of the country, why they did not make FSB as law when the economy was booming and rupee was much stronger in international market. This FSB seems to be big joke with the poor and hungry people of the country, especially when certain state govts. are already implementing such welfare schemes on their own in their states even without this FSB.
    BNA

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  • Anonymous

    When you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing. When you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favours – When you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don’t protect you against them, but protect them against you – When you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self sacrifice – You may know that your society is doomed.

    Ayn Rand

    Atlas Shrugged – 1957.

    It seems that this lady was talking about what India is going through now under corrupt, communal Congress.

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    pankaj#1 Reply:

    Best lines read since quite sometime.

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  • Anonymous

    India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru defined the philosophical debate in Indian politics till his death in 1964. The worldview he espoused has come to be known as Nehruvian. It entailed pervasive state control over the economy, an idealistic stance in foreign affairs, and special consideration to certain communities in domestic policy.
    But the Congress was far from a one-man or one-ideology party in the 1950s—it was a big tent with a vibrant right wing, too. Its decline as a political institution began under Nehru, who was the first prime minister to abuse Article 356 and dismiss Kerala’s elected state government in 1959. Even if Nehru was not inclined to take this position, he reportedly allowed himself to be overruled by the Congress president, his daughter Indira Gandhi, whom he had gotten installed as party president. This Stalinist template, where no distinction is made between party and state, and the executive is debased at the expense of the party, was pioneered by Nehru and has been followed by almost all successive Congress prime ministers: Manmohan Singh has only elevated it to a new high. The emasculation of inner-party democracy accelerated under Indira Gandhi, was continued by her son Rajiv Gandhi and has been dutifully carried forward by his wife Sonia Gandhi.
    Jivatram Bhagwandas Kripalani opposed Nehru vigorously on the issue of allowing separate personal laws for Muslims in 1955, charging him with communalism on the floor of Parliament. C. Rajagopalachariquit the Congress at age 80 in 1959 to establish the Swatantra Party, espousing economic liberalism. “The Congress Party has swung to the Left, what is wanted is not an ultra or outer-Left…but a strong and articulate Right,” Rajaji wrote in his essay Our Democracy. The Swatantra Party was later hounded by Indira Gandhi, who nationalized industries to decimate Swatantra Party’s financial backers. It was a classic case of destroying economic freedom to kill political freedom.
    But Nehru’s most formidable ideological opponent was Vallabhbhai Patel, and it was Patel’s death on 15 December, 1950, that accelerated India’s tilt towards the left.
    Patel’s worldview was substantively different from Nehru’s in many important spheres. Despite opposition from Nehru, Patel got a mosque shifted—whether one agrees with it or not—to rebuild a temple at Somnath that had been repeatedly destroyed over the centuries by Muslim invaders. Mahatma Gandhi gave his blessings to Patel but wanted no public funds to be used for the construction of the temple. On China, their views differed with Patel advocating help to Tibet when it was invaded—and Patel turned out to be right. On Kashmir’s accession to India, Patel’s realism was again overruled, and Nehru needlessly internationalized the issue by inviting intervention from the United Nations.
    On economic issues too, they had significant differences, with Patel repeatedly opposing Nehru’s demand for establishing the Planning Commission. It was on Patel’s insistence that the Commission was given an advisory role only, with its policies subject to the Union cabinet’s review and approval. Nehru wanted to define the purpose of planning as the elimination of “the motive of private gain in economic activity or organization of society and the antisocial concentration of wealth and means of production.” Patel prevailed over him and got this language deleted.
    That Nehru sought to endow an unconstitutional body with such sweeping powers only betrays his affinity for a centralized, anti-market, if not communist, approach to economic development.
    Their positions on zamindari abolition and the use of eminent domain for land acquisition further illuminate their philosophical leanings. Patel wanted compensation as market price plus 15%, while Nehru favoured no compensation. Patel also successfully supported Rajendra Prasad for President of India, and Purushottam Das Tandon for Congress party president in 1950, not just for ideological reasons but also to show Nehru that he couldn’t always dictate terms. Only Patel commanded the political heft to counter Nehru, and with his demise, the right wing within the Congress lost its strongest ballast.
    Just as with Swami Vivekananda, leftist intellectuals are confused whether to re-appropriate the legacy of Patel, or to escalate their attacks to make them toxic for the right. They are tempted to try re-appropriation because of the titanic stature of these individuals, but at the same time they are unable to reconcile the liberal views of Patel and Vivekananda with their own collectivist dogma, which they have managed to label as liberal.
    In such a political-historical context enters Narendra Modi. His economic record has been debated threadbare. There have been cases where newspapers have published false data, perhaps in their eagerness to bring down his record, and then retracted. Nobody credible doubts that Modi’s tenure as Gujarat chief minister has accelerated Gujarat’s economic progress.
    Modi’s critics argue that he may be a good administrator, but he isn’t inclusive and is autocratic. He has been said to be insufficiently reformist. Above all, Narendra Modi is not secular—he is painted as someone who is too divisive and obdurate to lead a diverse nation like India.
    This is an inaccurate narrative. The word inclusive has become a euphemism to justify irresponsible government spending, often based upon identity, and it is parroted by all who believe in the type of socialism that kept India impoverished for decades. Even the darling of the self-described secular crowd, JDU’s Nitish Kumar, is a dyed-in-the-wool socialist from the Ram Manohar Lohia school of thought.
    Kumar’s government already receives over 75% of its revenue from New Delhi, yet he agitates for more. The sustainability of his Bihar model will be determined by his ability to extract taxpayer funds remitted from other parts of India. Essentially, Kumar is willing to barter political support in exchange for even more funds from New Delhi.
    This kind of parasitic growth is unsustainable and undesirable. Not only does it hurt the poor, it weakens India’s federal structure by centralizing power in New Delhi and by making states dependent on Union government handouts. To quote economist Frédéric Bastiat, Kumar seems to believe in the fiction that everyone can live at the expense of everybody else.
    In stark contrast, Modi stands out as the only major Indian political leader since Atal Bihari Vajpayee to advocate that government has no business to be in business. No mass leader in recent times, even from the BJP, has been as explicit in expressing this view on the role of government. India has witnessed economic growth since 1991 because the government stepped back from areas where it had no reason to be in the first place. It is economic liberalism that has catalyzed economic growth in India, and strong doses of it are the need of the hour. Modi has spoken unequivocally in favour of federalism and decentralization, too, calling for flexibility to state governments in designing welfare schemes.
    In India, one is branded communal if one doesn’t support state welfare of citizens based on religious criteria. This is a hideous perversion of secularism. Can UK’s prime minister or the US president get away with saying that any one community has the first right over the country’s resources? Yet, in India, Manmohan Singh said exactly this for Muslims, and is considered secular. The hideousness of secular politics has plumbed new depths in recent times. During a rally at Azamgarh at the time of the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections, Congress parliamentarian Salman Khurshid said that the Congress president “wept bitterly” on seeing images of the encounter that took place at Batla House. Congress leaders like Digivijay Singh insisted the encounter was fake before a judicial verdict was delivered. Tears were shed for the terrorists killed in the encounter, but apparently there were no tears shed for policeman Mohan Chand Sharma, who was murdered by the terrorists at Batla House.
    The Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government has gone so far as to advocate special courts for Muslims to expedite trials for them. Don’t members of other communities deserve speedier justice?
    Patel had severe disagreements with Nehru and Abul Kalam Azad over the allocation of housing in Delhi that used to be occupied by Muslims who, after partition, migrated to Pakistan. Nehru and Azad insisted that only Muslims should stay in those homes, whereas Patel held that no secular government could take such a stand. The gatekeepers of secularism would have charged Patel as communal today, just as they attack Modi as communal for upholding the same principle.
    Patel unreservedly condemned the methods adopted by communists as being against the rule of law – he said that “their philosophy is to exploit every situation, to create chaos and anarchy, in the belief that, in such conditions, it would be possible for them to seize power.”
    The same charges – fascist, communalist, capitalist—made against Patel during his lifetime and since his demise have been levelled against Modi. This only shows that the Nehruvian consensus has never been so threatened in India as it is today—and those wedded to Nehru’s ideas will do everything they can to prevent the implosion of this consensus.
    -
    http://www.livemint.com/Opinion/DCrr6B9v1MvR6QTEMGDcJM/Narendra-Modi-as-the-antiNehru.html

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  • Ravi

    To my friends who for years have been harping about Muslims in the UK being prosecuted for child grooming.

    Please read the following and re-asses your views.

    Is there a Sikh code of silence on sexual grooming?

    By Zack Adesina BBC News

    Six men were jailed at Leicester Crown Court last week for offences including facilitating child prostitution. The convictions are being heralded as a legal landmark because it is the first high-profile case involving a Sikh victim of sexual abuse which has led to convictions in the UK.

    However, Inside Out London has uncovered evidence that there are potentially dozens of other young Sikh victims of sexual exploitation and few of these cases have come to court.

    The Sikh Awareness Society (SAS), a charity which focuses on family welfare, claims it has investigated more than 200 reports of child sexual grooming in the UK over the past five years.

    However, there are no official statistics to support this claim, because incidents of sexual abuse featuring Sikh minors are rarely reported to the authorities.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-23921570

    A half hour BBC TV programme was dedicated to the subject. There have been similar programmes on Catholic Priests.

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    Anonymous Reply:

    so what is your point

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    pankaj#1 Reply:

    Exactly. i was wondering about this myself. Who are the groomers, this has never been elaborated in this BBC article.

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  • Anonymous

    US court summons Sonia Gandhi

    newindianexpress.com/nation/US-court-summons-Sonia-Gandhi/2013/09/04/article1767534.ece

    On a complaint by a Sikh group, a US federal court has issued summons against Congress party president Sonia Gandhi for shielding party officials allegedly involved in inciting attacks on Sikhs in November 1984, an attorney said.

    In a class action suit filed Tuesday before the district court of Eastern District of New York, “Sikhs For Justice” (SFJ), a US-based human rights group, and other victims of the November 1984 anti-Sikh violence have sought compensatory and punitive damages against Gandhi.

    According to SFJ attorney Gurpatwant S. Pannun, under federal rules, it has 120 days to serve the summons and complaint on Gandhi who is currently visiting the US for medical check-up.

    The suit under Alien Tort Claims Act (ATCA) and Torture Victim Protection Act (TVPA) accuses Gandhi of shielding and protecting Kamal Nath, Sajjan Kumar, Jagdish Tytler and other Congress party leaders from being prosecuted for their alleged role in the 1984 violence.

    The 27-page complaint against Gandhi alleges that between Nov 1 and 4, 1984 about 30,000 members of the Sikh community “were intentionally tortured, raped and murdered by groups that were incited, organized, controlled and armed” by the ruling Congress party.

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  • Anonymous
  • pankaj#1

    Will someone compare CBI to IB. IB has recently got Yasin Bhatkal.
    it is pertinent to note that CBI tried to run down IB few weeks back.
    CBI has been reduced to handmaiden of UPA. IB is trying to maintain a sembalance of independence. This UPA government has been working worse than ISI, as it is hurting India from inside.

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  • saffronKachha

    Eve-teasing flared up the sentiments both in Godhara and Muzaffarnagar.

    It took the “communal colour” after “Level 2″ action by the political party/ies.

    That’s the story of communal riots everywhere, Muzzaffarnagar not in particular..

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  • Green COffee Program Diets

    Green COffee Program Diets…

    A debate over food, calories and costs : Separated At Birth…

  • Syed Hanif

    I strongly agree with Sujataji in almost all the points except the last one which says Congress will not form the govt and Rahul will not become the PM. I am 100% sure that congress will win this time infact with more seats under the leadership of Rahul and he will be the PM. Kejriwals and Modis will not achieve what they are dreaming

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  • asg

    Any person who follows indian politics can guess the fate of AAP. It is bound to fade away becuse of inherent contradictions. An agenda which is not known to the nation other than cleansing politics of corruption/corrupt politicians reminds me of hindi pot bolers where the hero walks in with a gun into the assembly and kills every politician snce they are corrupt. As far as other agenda of AAP like sops to the underprivileged i always remember the chinese proverb”teach a man to fish…..”. Their policy is rob taxpayers and pay the underprivileged so that every body ultimately becomes poor and an egalitarian society of poor is established.
    Next is the Grand old Party and RA GA’s speech. I can only again go back to cinema and say that within the congress RA Ga is the “good cop” and all associated with corruption are “bad cops”. If RA Ga was honest why he has not taken up with their government run by their party regarding the scandals knocking on their doors for last so many years. Why he has turned a blind eye. If the opposition is good at “naach gaana” and combing “bald heads” is he not indirectly saying that people who rejected congress in the recently held elections are fools and naive. May be the people liked “naach gaana” than the “nanga naach” of corruption , arrogance, and self-deception of Congress. This arrogance has cost them and will cost them a lot in the coming elections. Repeating that “We had given RTI, MNREGA, RTE, food security, Lok Pal” is again shows that they are giving doles to their “praja” and the “praja” should therefore bow down and kneel down i.on front of their “Raja” -oops”RAGA”. In his speech RA GA says “They (people)Deserve it”. I think it is a very late realisation that people deserve their due not as a dole but as a right and just by passing laws and beating drums /shouting from the roof tops that we have passed laws cannot fool people any longer. I can only sum up by saying that RA Ga has tried to lift the morale of his cadre by exhorting them to rise and fight but whether this will energize them is a moot question.RA GA, like his father and like Manmohan Singh being honest is laughable and like Maun mohan singh said best left to the history to be judged.

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  • Parmeshwar Roongta

    This is her wishful thinking! If she doesn’t write something out of the way, who will read her blog! So she finds the Dynasty the lifeline for the Congress! Very well. But don’t be surprised if the Indian people think otherwise. And may I ask that other parties are dynastic, whether it is a justification for our oldest party to be dynastic? Or, whether the blog writer finds any intrinsic merit in our political parties to be ruled by dynasties?

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