Food Security Bill would fight malnutrition and hunger, says Congress

New Delhi, Aug 5 (ANI): The Congress Party on Monday asserted that the Food Security Bill would fight malnutrition and hunger as it aims to provide cheap food to two-thirds of the 1.2 billion population of the country.

Congress leader Jagdambika Pal said the need for a Food Security Bill was triggered by the urgent need to fight malnutrition and hunger.

"The Food Security Bill is the legal right of 66 percent of the citizens of India which says that we are proving them food security and food guarantee. Whoever opposes this Bill, it is obvious that he is not opposing the UPA government led by Congress but he is opposing those 820 million citizens of India who will be getting the foodgrains at subsidized rates of two rupees per kilogram of wheat and three rupees per kilogram of rice," he said.

Earlier the Samajwadi Party (SP) ruled out support to the Food Security Ordinance in its present form and said that the party would oppose the government in the Monsoon session.

The Samajwadi Party's opposition has intensified following Congress President Sonia Gandhi's letter to Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh asking him to ensure that the suspended bureaucrat Durga Shakti Nagpal is treated fairly.

Before the commencement of the Monsoon Session of Parliament, Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh had appealed to the opposition parties for their cooperation during the Session and said the Food Security ordinance was the "most important" ordinance that the Parliament has on its hands.

Fourteen Congress-led states are expected to roll out the UPA's food security scheme from August 20, the birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

Congress President and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi had held consultations with chief ministers of all Congress-ruled states on July 13, where she asked them to efficiently implement the food security scheme in "letter and spirit."

President Pranab Mukherjee signed the ordinance on the Food Security Bill on July 5, with the aim of providing foodgrains every month to two-thirds of the nation's population at highly subsidized rates.

Political parties have sharply criticized the promulgation of the ordinance, calling it undemocratic and demanding that the Food Security Bill should be debated in both Houses before being passed.

The bill aims to provide five kg of foodgrains per person per month at a subsidized rate through the State Governments under the targeted public distribution system. It is set to be the largest food welfare scheme in the world. (ANI)

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