Sonia prods PM on Food Security Act

Sonia prods PM on Food Security Act

In her first letter to the Prime Minister after the UPA Government took office for the second term, Gandhi suggested the broad outlines of the proposed Act, which is likely to provide a statutory basis for a framework to assure food security for all.

The Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni told journalists on Thursday that the Congress president wanted the Food Security Act to be yet another milestone after the landmark National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) in the party’s endeavours for the welfare of people, particularly of the underprivileged sections of the society.

According to the manifesto of the Congress, once the Food Security Act comes into force, every family below the poverty line in rural as well as urban areas will be entitled, by law, to 25 kg of rice or wheat every month at the rate of Rs 3 per kg.

The Congress had in its manifesto promised to enact the Food Security Act that would “guarantee access to sufficient food for all people, particularly the most vulnerable sections of society”. It also promised subsidised community kitchens in all cities for homeless people and migrants with the support of the Union Government.

Gandhi, who also heads the UPA, is believed to have pointed out in her letter to the PM that the Food Security Act was one of the most prominent and important commitments made by the party ahead of the elections. She also suggested that the monthly quota of cereals to be provided at Rs 3 per kg should also be raised to 35 kg.

After the new UPA Government took office following the LS elections, President Pratibha Patil in her address to the joint session of the Parliament on June 4 last had mentioned about the Food Security Act and said that the legislation would also be brought about broader systemic reform in the public distribution system.

Soni said Gandhi wanted the Government to expand the scope of the Food Security Act to include among the beneficiaries the weaker sections like destitute people, women, handicapped and single parent apart from people with Below Poverty Line (BPL) card.
The proposed legislation may have provisions for issue of targeted photo-identity cards to the needy after a country-wide survey for their identification. They may also be a provision to issue special identity cards to people affected by natural calamities and communal violence to avail the benefits of the project for a period of time.

Gandhi is believed to have also asked the Prime Minister to initiate efforts for full computerisation of the Public Distribution System.

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