New Delhi, Sep 2 (IANS) Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley Monday said the Food Security Bill was mere "repackaging" of existing schemes in different states, and criticised the "hurry" to push through the legislation.
Jaitley moved a statutory resolution saying the house disapproves of the National Food Security Ordinance.
The Food Security Bill was moved in the upper house by Food Minister K.V. Thomas after being passed by the Lok Sabha last week.
"The BJP supports food security for all, but opposes the way in which it has been introduced and certain contents of the bill," Jaitley said.
He said the bill, which is ruling United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi's pet project, would result in cutting down on the number of people benefiting from the food scheme.
"What was the need for such hurry for the ordinance and legislation... This is misuse of power. It is a political decision, as the constitution does not allow government to invoke the power of ordinance for this bill," he said.
"This is just a repackaging of existing schemes in states," he said, and added that it was a "one size fits all" programme.
Jaitley said every state had its own peculiar needs, and it would be better if the states could design the food entitlements separately.
He also said that if some states have schemes that offer more entitlements than the one proposed to be legislated, these should be allowed to continue.
"The present food programmes with states have entitlements, but no rights. Now the entitlement will become a right (under the food security bill)," he said.
Listing out figures of beneficiaries and money to be allotted under the scheme, Jaitley said: "At present, the food subsidy provided under various schemes is Rs.113,000 crore and subsidy to be provided under the food bill will be Rs.125,000 crore."
"So there has been an increase of Rs.12.5 crore under the food bill. It is a mere repackaging of all the old schemes," he said.
Jaitley said the number of people covered under the various food schemes as of now is 82.99 crore, and people who would benefit under the food bill would be 81.37 crore.
"You call it a great achievement? You have not extended, but cut down on the scheme," Jaitley said, as BJP members shouted: "Shame, shame!"