With J&K Govt non-committal decision on food security hangs in fire

The new government in Jammu and Kashmir is behaving in the same fashion as the previous regime did as far as taking advantage from centrally sponsored schemes are concerned. With stringent watch, and accounting implicit in the central government with strong check on pilferage, it is natural that local officials have little interests in such schemes. One such scheme is the National Food Security Act which was meant to provide food and nutritional security to the people by ensuring good quality and quantity food material available at affordable prices. Even the directions from the state High Court have failed to move the bureaucratic inertia, and the committee of officers which was formed to look into the implementation of this act has failed to meet the deadlines.

The act came into force in 2013, and since then the state government has failed to ensure that food security becomes a primary motto as directed by this act. This is despite the fact that there are multiple benefits for the masses if this law is implemented in letter, and spirit. A number of states in the country including Punjab and Himachal have implemented this rule but in Jammu and Kashmir the political establishment has failed to make it’s stand clear on the issue.

The negative fallout of this inertia is that government of Jammu and Kashmir would not be able to avail food subsidy on ration if the NFSA Act is not implemented by the states. Neither the present government nor the previous regime took any serious steps to ensure that this act could be implemented in the state. Although a high powered committee has been constituted by the state government to look into the financial implications, and implementation of the act but it has failed to submit the report within 15 days as prescribed by the government. With the work going on very slowly it is unlikely that this committee would be able to make it’s recommendations to the state government which has to take final call on the matter.

Last month the state high court had asked the government to make it’s stand clear on the issue but nothing has been finalized, and this issue remains pending thus hurting the food security of many.