'Govt. should have consulted CMs of all states': Mulayam on Food Security Bill

New Delhi, Aug. 26 (ANI): Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Mulayam Singh Yadav on Monday said chief ministers of all states should have been consulted before the government had thought of introducing the Food Security Bill in Parliament for approval into law.

"Before finalising the Food Security Bill, the central government should have called chief ministers of all states and taken their views into account," he said in the Lok Sabha here today.

He questioned the government's motive in bringing the Bill, claiming that it has been done with an eye on elections.

"The government is bringing this Bill with elections in mind. There is nothing for the poor. There should be clarity on the number of the poor to be covered by the Bill," he said.

"You have to find out how many people are below BPL. You need actual figures for that and I am sorry to say that you have none. There are no statistics on the number of poor in the country after 1997," he added.

Mulayam Singh raised several questions regarding the financial aspect of this Bill, and added that the Centre should understand that states are in a precarious financial situation.

"How can you make a Food Security Bill on assumptions? Rs. 26,000 crore or Rs 30,000 crore is not the problem. How much financial liability will the states have to bear because of this Food Security Bill? From where will the states generate funds? There is no mention about that in the Bill," he questioned.

"The Centre should understand that the states are in a precarious financial situation. This Bill is directly related with the polls. When there was an actual famine situation, the Bill was nowhere to be seen," he added.

He also expressed concern for the farmers and said that amendments should be made to ensure that every grain produced by the farmers would be bought by the government.

"Is there a guarantee that the farmers will have the right price for their produce and their land will be protected? The government should bring in amendments that ensure that every grain produced by the farmers will be bought by the government," he added.

Earlier in the day, UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi urged lawmakers to clear her party's flagship Food Security welfare scheme to provide cheap food to nearly 70 percent of India.

"We have a chance to create history with this bill. So, my humble appeal is that we, as representatives of people, must make this Bill into an Act," she told members of the Lok Sabha.

Initiating the debate on the UPA Government's landmark Food Security Bill in the Lok Sabha, Food Minister K.V Thomas on Monday said the bill would ensure more transparency and accountability in the PDS system.

The National Food Security Bill is a historic initiative for ensuring food and nutritional security to the people. It gives a right to the people to receive adequate quantity of foodgrains at affordable prices.

The Bill has a special focus on nutritional support to the poorest of the poor , women and children.

In case of non-supply of foodgrains, the deprived will get a food security allowance. The Bill also provides for grievance redressal mechanism and penalty for non -compliance by a public servant or authority. Under the plan, the government will sell subsidised wheat and rice to 67 percent of its 1.2 billion population. (ANI)

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