While it is indeed a moral imperative for a society to feed its people, the true immorality is in promising food through a mechanism that is known to be deficient and will fail to deliver it. More to the point, the notion of increasing access to nutrition through a legislative, entitlement-based approach harks back to the top-down, centrally planned development model that we supposedly jettisoned after 1991.

While it is hardly a surprise that the Congress favours such an approach - how genuine is its commitment to liberal economic policies has always been in doubt - what is most disappointing is the BJP's failure to take a principled position that would mark it out as a genuine, centre-right, pro-market alternative to the Congress. Instead, by holding the food security Bill hostage to unrelated demands having to do with the coal and rail scams, they appear utterly opportunistic and ideologically incoherent. Read More