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Updated: July 22, 2013 08:28 IST

Congress MP defends Food Security Bill

Special Correspondent
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AICC spokesperson Bhakta Charan Das addressing the media in Chennai on Sunday. TNCC president Gnanadesikan is in the picture. Photo:R.Ragu
AICC spokesperson Bhakta Charan Das addressing the media in Chennai on Sunday. TNCC president Gnanadesikan is in the picture. Photo:R.Ragu

Rejects criticism it is replete with confusion and inaccuracy

Congress MP and AICC spokesperson Bhakta Charan Das on Sunday rejected criticism that the proposed Food Security Bill was replete with confusion and inaccuracy when it came to identification of beneficiaries, and said it was the best and the biggest effort aimed at achieving inclusive growth.

“Different State governments have their own food security programmes. But no State has the law to make it an entitlement. After a law is made, it will make right to food an entitlement to 75 per cent of the rural and 50 per cent the urban population,” he told reporters here.

Mr. Das, who is here as part of the Congress party’s campaign to muster support for the bill, which had already been introduced as an ordinance, said it would ensure access to adequate quality food at an affordable price to people.

When told that the Tamil Nadu government was implementing universal public distribution system, distributing 20 kg rice free of cost, to cardholders, and the apprehension that the Centre’s proposal would cost an additional burden of Rs. 1,800 crore, he said the Centre had brought down the price of rice from Rs. 5.65 to Rs. 3 per kg.

“Moreover, under the new law, the Centre would be bound to pay money to the State government if it cannot supply food. It will not leave anyone behind, but will cover everyone,” he explained.

Asked why the Centre, which was fully confident about the advantages of the bill, should seek to issue an ordinance, instead of introducing the bill in both Houses of Parliament, he said the issue was discussed nine times in the meeting of the Group of Ministers (GOM).

He said it was a unique programme and total transparency would be maintained from end to end to ensure there was no pilferage and lacuna.

Mr. Das said there was inadequate storage capacity between 2001 and 2007, but now the facility had been upgraded to store over 700 lakh tonnes of food grains.

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