India’s Upper House Of Parliament Approves National Food Security Bill

India’s upper house of Parliament, the Rajya Sabha, “late on Monday night passed the National Food Security Bill by voice vote after an almost 10-hour-long debate,” the Hindustan Times reports. “The Lok Sabha has already passed the bill and so it now needs the president’s assent to become a law,” the newspaper notes, adding, “The bill aims to provide cheap food grain to two-thirds of India’s 1.2 billion population” (9/2). “The bill aims to reduce hunger in India where two decades of economic growth has failed to dent malnutrition,” Bloomberg reports. “More than two-thirds of the population eats less than the minimum target set by the government,” the news agency writes, noting, “The country has the highest percentage of malnourished children in the world after East Timor, according to the 2012 annual Global Hunger Index” (MacAskill, 9/2). “Each person qualifying for the aid will be entitled to five kilograms of rice, wheat and coarse cereals at a nominal price every month,” Al Jazeera reports, adding, “The program has been estimated to bring food subsidy costs up to $19.6 billion this financial year, almost $5 billion dollars more than current spending” (Dutt, 9/2).

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