05 August, 2021


AS the responsibility of feeding 900 million people is the government's job, subsidies in agriculture will have to continue, says Mukherjee. "That's the line of argument we made in GATT which accepted our contention," he discloses. Every country provides subsidies to the agriculture sector for maintaining food security, and subsidies for food, fertilisers, water, irrigation and power are an absolute necessity. Whatever happened to Manmohan Singh's talk of reducing subsidies to cut the fiscal deficit, during the heyday of reforms?

The BJP too is hitched firmly on to the subsidy bandwagon. In its manifesto, it says it will ensure an efficient, low-cost, corruption free public distribution system (PDS), so that a regular and adequate supply of commodities in rural, tribal, remote and backward areas is ensured. Also, the PDS would supply better quality foodgrains, pulses, cooking oil and soap.

Not to be outdone, the Janata Dal has made food security a key part of its campaign. It promises, as part of food security measures, the introduction of public policies for...

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