India’s Lower House of Parliament has approved a Food Security Bill that would provide subsidized food to two-thirds of their poor population.

Decrease poverty and hunger

india food billUnder the bill, which still needs approval from the Upper House, 800 million poor people would get 5kg of cheap rice each month.It would apply to 75% of Indians living in rural population and 50% of the urban areas.

Its backers explained that it is a huge step towards eradicating the widespread hunger and malnutrition outbreak in India. However, critics say it’s a reckless plan that will hurt the economy of India. The controversial bill will cost 1.3 trillion rupees ($23.9 billion) every year.

The government launched the program by executive decree, but needs approval from the parliament to make it permanent.

A political move

In a speech to parliament, Congress Party President Sonia Gandhi urged legislators to clear her party’s flagship welfare plan, which she said was part of an “empowerment revolution” worthy of unanimous support.

India ranks third among the world’s poor and supporters say such a program will help lessen hunger and poverty. However, critics have dismissed the bill as a political move ahead of the next general election.

“It’s not food security, but a vote securing bill,” opposition BJP spokesman Murli Manohar Joshi said in parliament.