As a counter to Food Security Bill of UPA government

As the government plans to convene a special session of Parliament for passage of the Food Security Bill, Bharatiya Janata Party president Rajnath Singh on Friday said his party’s answer to the ambitious bill of the UPA government was the Chhattisgarh government’s model that covered 90 per cent of the State’s population and provided protein supplements and iodised salt.

“The BJP will use the special session of Parliament, as and when it is held, to pose the Chhattisgarh model of food security as a counter to the UPA government’s version,” Mr. Singh told The Hindu here.

The BJP would promise to offer the Chhattisgarh model to States like Uttar Pradesh, which hold crucial importance to the party in the Lok Sabha election, scheduled for next year, he said.

In a month’s time, Mr. Singh plans to undertake a whirlwind tour of U.P. along with Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, who was anointed last week at Goa as head of the BJP’s election campaign committee for the 2014 general election. The two plan to hold nearly a dozen meetings in different parts of U.P.

Chhattisgarh, ruled by Raman Singh-led BJP for the past two terms and slated to go for Assembly polls this year, has implemented its own model of food security by covering the Antyodaya, the priority and the general households in the State.

While the Antyodaya and the priority households are entitled to draw their monthly quota of 35 kg of grains at Re. 1 and Rs. 2 a kg respectively, the general household get 15 kg of grains a month on prices that are 50 per cent less than the minimum support price. The Antyodaya and the priority households also get two kg of pulses and black gram each at Rs. 10 and Rs. 5 a kg in addition to two kg of free iodised salt.

A pet programme of UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, the Food Security Bill was tabled in the budget session of Parliament but could not be taken up for discussion due to disruptions in the Lok Sabha over allegations of various scams against the UPA government. The Bill aims to give legal rights to 67 per cent of the population to supply of grains at highly subsidised rates through ration shops.

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