India has launched a huge cheap food plan that will provide subsidized food to two-thirds of its population.
The food security bill
The Food Security Ordinance will provide 5kg of cheap grain monthly to almost 800 million people in a plan that has caused ministers to be criticized for passing the program as an ordinance after it failed to win parliamentary support.
Critics said the program, which is one of the largest welfare schemes, is a political strategy to win the votes of poor people and this will drain India’s finances.
However, supporters debated that it will help decrease poverty.
While the government insists money will not be a major problem, many economists still question how the country will fund its biggest and most expensive program. This would double India’s food subsidy bill to over 1.3 trillion rupees ($23.9 billion).
Food minister KV Thomas said in a cabinet meeting that the union cabinet has approved the food security ordinance unanimously.
Home of the world’s hungry poor
The Indian government intended that the program would combat hunger, despite impressive economic growth in recent years, but still struggles to feed its large population.
The new food security bill proposes to provide 1kg of rice at three rupees, wheat at two rupees, and millet at one rupee. It still needs approval from the parliament, but is expected to pass without debate as few politicians want to oppose such a law before the upcoming elections.