Food for vote security; Babudom: plucking off deadwood; Harking back soccer glory

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Opinion Watch

Food for vote security

National Food Security Act was born out of the laboratory of the National Advisory Council (NAC), which was headed by Sonia Gandhi during the Manmohan Singh-led UPA government. Since the enactment of the law, Congress has been on a losing spree in elections, but party’s rivals turned the food law into vote insurance scheme, and they continue to reap unprecedented electoral dividends. The successes of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Biju Janata Dal (BJD), Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), YSR Congress and DMK owe largely to their effective use of the food law.

A few months ago, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had vented her anger on a Telangana civil servant after she saw the photo of the state CM and not PM on food packets at the ration shops, asking him if he knew where the money come to fund the food law. The states were pitching in with Rs 2 a kg for wheat and Rs 3 a kg for rice to take the political mileage of the scheme. The Narendra Modi government has now denied the state government the liberty to claim political benefits, as grains under the food law would now be totally free following the Cabinet decision of the last week, which also decided to merge the PM Garib Kalyan Anna Yojna. The Hindu and The Indian Express have in their respective Editorials have sifted the rationale for the decision of the Cabinet. They have pushed the argument that the time has come for reforms in agrarian subsidies, and may be the dole outs be directly given in the hands of the beneficiaries.

Babudom: plucking off deadwood

The Narendra Modi government can be credited for occasional weeding out of the dead wood among the bureaucracy. The Ministry of telecommunication handed out forced retirements to 10 senior official for various reasons, which included dubious integrity.

The Times of India in an Editorial stated that the government has forced 400 officers into retirement for various reasons since 2014. They hailed mostly from the Group A and B services. This is a piecemeal approach, and is surely not worthy of applauding, for if the senior officials were found to have been of dubious integrity they should have been accountable for their lapses under the suitable laws of the country and not given an honourable exit from the services.

This takes us to the nimble footed approach of the Modi government to the bureaucratic reforms. Why should there be a fixed term for the officials?. If the government has promoted contractual employments in the private sector, why it can itself not adopt it in its bureaucracy?

Harking back soccer glory

Indian soccer was not in the oblivion in 1950s as the case is now. But the Indian Football Federation akas are milking the sport to their benefits. The Pioneer in its Editorial rued the state of the affairs of soccer in India, while the people in Kerala and West Bengal worship the icons such as Messi. It may not be out of place to say that the Indian soccer has been destroyed by corruption of the federations and they should be drowned in the Bay of Bengal.

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