An average of 80 crore poor and middle class people in the country will be benefited, says Chidambaram

Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram has appealed to the State government to accept the recently-passed Central legislation on food security and help to achieve the goals envisaged under the Act.

Addressing after inaugurating the 1500th branch of Dena Bank at Thiruppuvanam near here on Sunday, Mr. Chidambaram regretted that the “revolutionary legislation,” which ensured food security to an average of 80 crore poor and middle class people in the country, was opposed by some sections of people.

There was opposition to this legislation in Tamil Nadu also, he said but refrained from making any comment. “This being the government function, I did not want to get into it,” the Union Minister said, hoping that people of the State would welcome the legislation and pave the way for the scheme to be implemented in the State. “We want the Central legislation implemented in Tamil Nadu and in the entire country.”

Mr. Chidambaram regretted that the food security bill and land acquisition bill, which should have been passed in a conducive atmosphere in Parliament, had to be voted to into law after tremendous tussle (with the opposition) in the last five months.

He said the distribution of 25 kg of rice to five members of a family [at a rate of five kg per person per month] at Rs. 3 per kg would not completely address the food needs of a family, but would help to reduce the burden of the family to some extent, when rice was sold at Rs. 16 to Rs. 30 per kg in the open market. The price of rice had gone up in the open market when the government procured paddy at the rate of Rs. 1,325 per quintal, he said.

It was for the poor and middle class families to say whether it was right on the part of the Central government to supply rice or wheat at Rs. 3 and Rs. 2 per kg, respectively. The affluent section and rich people would not comment on this, but poor and daily wage workers owed an answer, he said.

On another bill related to the Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement passed by the Parliament, Mr. Chidambaram said that it replaced the Land Acquisition Act, enacted by the British in 1894.

The bill assured four times compensation to those whose land had been taken over, he added. 


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