FCI reforms: prescription to cure or kill? -Roshan Kishore
The abolition of a procurement-based programme would undermine the very raison d'être of FCI rather than bringing about any restructuring
The report of the high-level committee on reorienting the role and restructuring of Food Corp. of India (FCI) is a pointer to the government's thinking on matters of agriculture and food security. Among the key recommendations of the committee are: winding up of the activities of FCI in traditional procurement states; reducing the coverage of the National Food Security Act (NFSA) from 67% to 40%; raising the issue price of public distribution system (PDS) grains to 50% of minimum support price (MSP) for all except Antyodaya (poorest) households; shifting to a cash transfer-based food security programme; and abolition of input subsidies by introducing direct-income support. Notwithstanding the smokescreen of promoting efficiency that the report seeks to build, there are enough grounds to argue that if accepted, the recommendations would not bode well for our agriculture and food security.
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