Food bill overcomes opposition

Food bill overcomes opposition

Food bill overcomes opposition

 The opposition and non-Congress members in the Rajya Sabha supported the National Food Security Bill.

   During the debate on the bill in the Upper House on Monday, the non-Congress members put forward a long list of demands which will trigger fights.

They include the demand to increase remunerative prices for farmers, universalisation of Public Distribution System (PDS), acceptance of the number of beneficiaries given by the states, economic assistance to states to implement the programme, reduction of the rate at which cereals are to be distributed through the programme and inclusion of pulses and oil in the list of items to be provided.

 Leader of Opposition Arun Jaitley termed the programme a “repackaging” of existing food schemes and said the total amount of subsidy provided under various food schemes like PDS, ICDS and Midday meal scheme is Rs 1,24,844 crore and that provided in Food Security Bill is Rs 1,25,000 crore.

His party colleague Venakaiah Naidu strongly condemned the government for allegedly ignoring the crisis in the Indian agriculture and overlooking the issue of incentives to farmers.

Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) leader Mayawati demanded that the beneficiaries from Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes be charged only half of the price at which others will be getting it. She said the list of items provided through the programme should have other essential items, including salt and oil.

She demanded increase in the quantity of cereals allotted to a family and said the entire cost of the programme must be borne by the Centre.
 Universalisation of PDS

 CPM leader Sitaram Yechury demanded universalisation of PDS. He said the states have universal PDS and providing cereals for no price or at a price lesser than what government has fixed under the programme.

D Raja, senior CPI leader, asked for more incentives to farmers and better procurement procedures. He said universalisation of food security is essential for the country. 

Samajwadi Party leader Naresh Agrawal strongly pitched for remunerative prices for farmers.

Congress MP B L Mungekar also expressed hope that the programme would be universalised. JDU’s Vashishst Narayan Singh said the Centre should assist states in implementing the program.