Amartya Sen dismayed over parliament disruptions

New Delhi, May 6 (IANS) Nobel laureate Amartya Monday expressed dismay over the persistent disruptions of parliament that have scuttled chances of discussions on important bills, especially the one on food security. He called it a “breakdown” of democracy.

Both houses of parliament, which have seen repeated disruptions by opposition parties over the allocation of coal blocks and 2G spectrum, were again stalled Monday.

“The opposition has stalled the parliament because they want the resignation of a cabinet minister from the government. However, it should calculate that number of deaths if the food bill is not passed,” Sen, an eminent economist, said here.

The Food Security Bill aims to give the right to food to around 67 percent of India’s 1.2 billion people.

“Debate in needed in parliament. The opposition must allow arguments in parliament so that important bills can be discussed. But they must not burst parliament,” he added.

Sen said that he was shocked that the media has not played its role in bringing to the fore the cost of not passing the Food Security bill.

“The media must take interest in highlighting this issue,” he said.

“The issue of feeding people in this country is important and discussion must take place in parliament,” he added.

Sen was speaking at a press conference organised by social activists on the Food Security Bill.

He said the there was nothing “extraordinarily wrong” with democracy in India but it needs to handle it an appropriate manner.

Kavita Srivastava, an activist, said: “We want the Food Security Bill to be discussed in parliament irrespective of its shortcomings. There has been a deadlock over it for the past four-and-a-half years.”

“Opposition parties except the Bharatiya Janta Party have approved the amendment in the bill. The bill must be discussed,” she said.

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