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Question #

Food Security Bill is expected to eliminate hunger and malnutrition in India. Critically discuss various apprehensions in its effective implementation along with the concerns it has generated in WTO.

ChatGPT Answer #

The Food Security Bill implemented by the Indian government aimed to eradicate hunger and malnutrition from the country. Despite its noble intent, the effective implementation of the bill faces several concerns and apprehensions.

1. Financial burden: One of the main apprehensions is the financial burden it imposes on the government. The bill guarantees subsidized food grains to almost 67% of the population, which requires a significant investment. It raises concerns about the government's ability to finance and sustain such a massive program, especially in a country with a high poverty rate.

2. Leakage and corruption: Another major concern is the potential for leakages and corruption in the distribution system. The bill relies heavily on the public distribution system (PDS), which has been plagued with issues like fake beneficiaries, diversion of grains, and pilferage. If the implementation of the Food Security Bill fails to address these issues effectively, it may not reach its intended beneficiaries, leading to continued hunger and malnutrition.

3. Infrastructure challenges: India's diverse landscape and inadequate infrastructural facilities pose hurdles in implementing the bill effectively. Maintaining a cold chain system for perishable items and constructing storage facilities in remote and difficult-to-access areas requires substantial investments and logistical capabilities.

4. Quality and nutritional concerns: There are concerns about the quality and nutritional value of the subsidized grains provided under the program. The focus is primarily on providing basic calorie intake, but the bill should also emphasize balanced nutrition to combat malnutrition effectively.

On the international front, the Food Security Bill generated concerns in the World Trade Organization (WTO) due to potential violations of trade rules.

1. Subsidy implications: The bill provides significant subsidies in the agriculture sector to ensure cheaper grains for distribution. However, these subsidies may violate WTO rules. India faced criticism for exceeding WTO limits on the value of subsidies, potentially distorting global agricultural markets.

2. Implications on global food trade: The Food Security Bill, with its massive scale, has the potential to disrupt global food trade. By prioritizing domestic food security, India might impose export restrictions, affecting global food prices and trade flows. This aspect raises concerns among exporting countries and could potentially strain India's international relationships.

3. Potential disputes: The implications of the bill on WTO rules have already sparked concerns among member countries. Some countries have expressed their reservations and initiated dispute resolution mechanisms in the WTO against India, questioning the compatibility of its food subsidy regime with international trade regulations.

In conclusion, while the Food Security Bill in India aims to eliminate hunger and malnutrition, its effective implementation faces apprehensions linked to financial constraints, potential leakages, and infrastructural challenges. Moreover, concerns raised in the WTO regarding subsidies, international trade, and potential disputes further complicate its implementation. To address these concerns, the government needs to address systemic shortcomings, enhance transparency, and navigate international trade norms effectively.

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