Congress, BJP lock horns over Food Security Bill

New Delhi, June 4 (ANI): Congress Party on Tuesday lashed out at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for delaying the passage of the Food Security Bill in Parliament and politicising the matter.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath took potshots at the BJP for disrupting the parliamentary proceedings in the last session when the bill was being discussed.

"The Bharatiya Janata Party wants to politicise this issue because they can see that around 65 percent of the country's population would benefit from it, majority of which are poor. This bill is being stalled for such a long time. We want it to be passed immediately," said Nath.

" The BJP is politicising this bill, wants to block it by giving all excuses. This bill has been on the agenda of the lower house since January. In the last session, discussions began on this issue, but the BJP did not allow the discussion to continue and this bill could not be passed," he added.

Meanwhile, BJP Vice-President Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said that the Congress-led UPA Government was more focused to allow Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the retail sector.

"When the government was bringing in FDI in retail, they should have brought in the Food Security Bill. But at that time, the government was more concerned about the foreign investors rather than the people of this country. Now in the rush of elections they are bringing this ordinance. I suggest them not to bring this ordinance and put this bill on their election manifesto for 2014," said Naqvi.

A meeting of the Union Cabinet is presently on at Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh's official 7, Race Course Road (RCR) residence here, which is likely to clear the ordinance for the Food Security Bill.

The National Food Security Bill, 2011, considered to be the world's largest experiment in ensuring food security to poor, has been a key project of Congress President Sonia Gandhi.

It hopes to meet the food needs of 75 percent of rural households and 50 percent of urban households. The Bill classifies all entitled households as 'general' and 'priority'.

At least 46 percent of rural households and 28 percent of urban households would be designated as "priority".

Every person belonging to a 'priority household' will be provided with seven kilograms of grain per month, comprising rice, wheat and coarse grain. Rice will be provided at Rs. 3, wheat at Rs. 2 and coarse grain at Rs. 1 per kilogram.

Others belonging to the 'general category' would be entitled to not less than three kilogram of grain per month at a rate not exceeding 50 percent of the minimum support price. (ANI)

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