The much talked about, ambitious and historical bill to replace the National Food Security Ordinance 2013 was introduced in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday amid strong objections raised by the AIADMK and the DMK.
Introducing the bill, even as Seemandhra members created an uproar over Telangana and BJP members raised slogans on the killing of jawans in Kashmir, Minister of State for Food and Public Distribution K.V. Thomas claimed the “National Food Security Bill 2013” did not infringe on the States’ rights.
“It protects the Constitution…there is nothing against the federal system. This Bill will enable the people to get food as the right. This is the first time in the world, food is given as the right.”
Earlier, the Minister withdrew a similar bill that was introduced in 2011 and which was later sent to the Parliamentary Standing Committee. He said many proposals made by the committee were included in the ordinance replacement bill.
AIADMK floor leader M. Thambidurai said the bill in its present form was against the federal setup. It was actually a “food insecurity Bill.” It “is against the principles of the Constitution...interfering in the functioning of the State governments.”
The Centre had unilaterally and hastily promulgated the ordinance. “Though the bill claims to provide food security to all, there are several flaws in the bill which have created serious apprehensions and raised the spectre of food insecurity for Tamil Nadu.”
The bill would affect the Public Distribution System, which was being successfully implemented in Tamil Nadu, he said.
DMK parliamentary party leader T.R. Baalu said the bill should not be detrimental to the off-take of a particular State. “The States’ powers should not be ridiculed and should not be reduced to the extent of making them municipalities. So, I am opposing this.”
There were lot of issues to be settled. The DMK would give amendments to the bill as legislation would have far reaching implications on the States’ rights.
As per the provisions of the bill, over 67 per cent of the country’s population would get 5 kg of grains a month at Rs. 1-3 a kg. The responsibility of implementing and monitoring the scheme under the Targeted Public Distribution System was on the State governments. It gives them six months to put the systems in place to deliver the programme.
Over 2.43 crore Antyodaya Anna Yojna (poorest of the poor) beneficiaries would, however, continue to get their legal entitlement of 35 kg a household a month. The ordinance was promulgated on July 5.