July 15, 2013
Is India’s food security ordinance supportable? The debate has been vigorous. It will help to separate the questions of process from those of principle.
Whether an ambitious scheme of this magnitude should have been brought in as an executive ordinance or as a new law after parliamentary debate, is basically a procedural question. It is not unimportant, but it does not tell us whether food security is inherently desirable in India. Once we have probed desirability, it would make sense to ask whether food security is affordable, even if desirable. There is also the question of whether the Indian state has the capacity to implement an ambitious welfare programme. Lumping all of these issues together — process, desirability, affordability, implementability — muddies analytical waters. Read the full text.