Food Bill: Opposition says needs changes,discussion

Yashwant says it’s a disaster,hopes his party doesn’t support

Written by Express News Service | New Delhi | Published: June 4, 2013 2:53:53 am

While the government tries to make up its mind whether to adopt the legislative route or promulgate an ordinance for implementing the National Food Security Bill,political parties are clearly divided on the issue.

Sources disclosed that the BJP decision is to neither oppose a special session nor the Bill as such,for that would send a negative signal to people ahead of Assembly polls in four states as well as the LS polls,which are due next year. However,when it comes to the content of the proposed legislation,the party would demand that the government adopt the Chhattisgarh-model,which is already in place. Therefore,Leader of the Opposition in the LS Sushma Swaraj had said on Sunday that the BJP was not opposed to a special session,though advancing the Monsoon session,which is in any case due in July,would be a better option. Speaking in the same vein,party president Rajnath Singh said in Hyderabad on Sunday that the BJP wanted the National Food Security Bill and the Land Acquisition and Rehabilitation Bill “passed with some amendments.” He too favoured advancement of the Monsoon session for facilitating their passage.

However,senior BJP leader and former finance minister Yashwant Sinha said the Food Security Bill would be a disaster. While expressing the hope that the BJP will not agree to a special session,he said the party should oppose the Bill as it transfers the burden to states. He said,“The Food Bill is an assault on the federal system…It will lead to black marketing and badly affect farmers…Only traders will make merry by round tripping grain supply.”

JD(U) president Sharad Yadav said,“It is the government’s choice to call the Monsoon session early…The Land Acquisition Bill and the Food Security Bill should be tabled on the first day of the Monsoon session…This issue should be resolved.”

CPM leader Brinda Karat said the Bills had been pending for passage for the past four years,but the government was not worried. The Food Security Bill,according to her,should be discussed in theMonsoon session. She said the the Bill had many loopholes. She said,“The BPL families are getting 35 kg of grains at present,but after this Bill is passed,they will get 25 kg…They are excluding 50 per cent of the urban people without any basis.” She said that many states were providing rice for Re 1 a kg,but the Bill was offering it for Rs 3 per kg.

CPI’s D Raja stated the Bill needed to be amended. He said,“The Food Security Bill is unacceptable in its existing form as it suffers from several defects and a comprehensive and thorough debate is essential before it is considered for passage in Parliament.”

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