The ruling PDP government in Jammu and Kashmir is witnessing wide protests from the public and opposition parties regarding the implementation of the National Food Security Act in the state. Over the past two weeks, the valley has been rocked in protests, with Srinagar as the hub of the agitation. According to the protesters, the implementation would lead to exclusion of around 2.31 lakh people from receiving the present stipulated ration of food materials.
Hurriyat Conference and other Opposition parties are claiming that this move by the ruling PDP-NDA government is a precursor towards eroding the special status accorded to the state under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution. As of now, people in the state are entitled to receive 35 kg of rice per month. However, with the implementation of NFSA, every person will be getting only 5 kg of rice.
Now the people will not only be ineligible for rations at the NFSA rate of Rs 3 per kilogram, but will also not be allowed to buy them at Rs 10 per kg, the rate for those above poverty line. The excluded people also include gazette officers and businessmen.
Omar Abdullah, the former Chief Minister and National Conference leader from J& K said the ruling government is robbing people of their right to bare minimum food requirements. He said even when the Congress Party, one of its allies, was at the Centre and his party was ruling J& K, he did not heed to the implementation of NFSA in the state.
There is also opinion in the state that rapid urbanization and ill-conceived development has enhanced the gap between demand and production of over the last three decades. Given this gap, further control on supply will work to the detriment of people’s welfare.