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Half Of Indian States Will Be Ready To Begin Food Aid Program By Year’s End

“Half of India’s states would be ready to roll out the federal food aid program by the end of this year, the food minister said Tuesday, as the government tries to speed up the implementation of the centerpiece of its policy agenda ahead of elections,” the Wall Street Journal reports. The country’s recently implemented food security law “guarantees the right to nearly-free rice and wheat to about 70 percent of the country’s more than 1.2 billion people, and is one of the most ambitious food aid programs ever attempted,” the newspaper notes. “The government is implementing the program at a time when the country is preparing for federal elections, which must be held by May,” according to the newspaper. “Critics [of the program] say it would impose an unbearable financial strain when the government is struggling to control its fiscal deficit, while its supporters say it would help alleviate hunger in a country that is home to a third of the world’s poor,” the Wall Street Journal writes (Mukherji, 10/1).