Right to food or drinking water or any water?

A very apt and hitting article by Niranjan of Mint.

Two broad points in his piece.

 

  • First,  India does not need a right to food bill but a right to water bill. This is based on facts which show larger number of people suffer from lack of water and not lack of food (in food malnourishment is a bigger problem than hunger per se).
  • Second, you bring this issue to India’s politicos and out will come another subsidy. The need really is to build systems and governance to provide the good and not subsidy.

On his first point I would add it is not just about right to drinking water but any water as of now. Most parts of the country fail to get regular water supplies for their daily chores. Clean drinking water is a clear luxury. 

On subsidies what does one say. The govt doles subsidies ahead of elections to impress on voters and then rolls it back in the name of reforms. In the process of doling out subsidies what people also get is a highly inefficient system of delivery and distribution of the subsidised good. The transaction costs of getting the subsidised good is most of the times higher than the subsidy. One of the best pieces I had read on this malaise of conversion of private goods into public ones was by Siddharth of Mint.

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