On Monday, Parliament was informed that once the food security Bill is passed, food subsidy will touch the Rs 1 trillion mark. At the same time, the country’s ability to store the huge pile of food is limited. Clearly, there is something very wrong in its food management strategy.
Partisans of food security will say that irrespective of the cost, it will be best if food is doled out free. This makes immense moral sense, but is terrible economics. In the short run, at least, there is a solution: freeing exports of foodgrains.
It is the long-run strategy that requires some thought. Food security will require ever more output and much higher growth in agriculture than the 4% targeted by the Planning Commission for the coming five years. The government needs to devote much thought to this gap between what is needed and what is available.