JD-U expresses concern over Food Security Bill

New Delhi, Aug. 8 (ANI): Janata Dal-United lawmaker Ali Anwar on Thursday expressed concern over the current contents of the Food Security Bill, which was tabled in the Lok Sabha.

The Food Security Bill proposes highly subsidised food grains to the poor.

The government had already launched the 22 billion dollar welfare scheme, to give cheap food to millions of people, a centrepiece of the ruling Congress Party's plan to win a third term in May 2014, but it needs parliament's approval for its continuation.

While tabling the bill on Wednesday, Food Minister Kuruppasserry Varkey Thomas allayed opposition's apprehensions, that it infringed upon the rights of the states and called for thorough discussions on its provisions.

Anwar told reporters that his party, in principle, supported the bill but some issues need to rectified.

"We have our concerns, like storage, the loopholes in the PDS (Public Distribution System) need to be rectified, the concerns on transportation. All these expenses should not be put on the state governments. But our party is supporting this bill in principle," said Anwar.

Shiv Sena MP Sanjay Raut said: "The government had to table the bill in parliament. They need the support of all political parties that would also give them some edge. The government does not have the majority. They don't have the numbers in the lower house and the upper house. If through discussions they can get the bill passed in parliament, well and good."

The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) said the tabling of the bill was only possible because of the record output of agriculture over the nine years since the government's twin tenure.

"We support the food security bill and the record agriculture output that this country has seen in the past nine years and this is the only reason why we can have this bill. We have also seen record export in agriculture," said NCP leader, D. P. Tripathi.

Under the plan, the government will sell subsidised wheat and rice to 67 percent of its 1.2 billion people.

India is home to a quarter of the world's hungry poor, according to U.N. figures, despite being one of the world's biggest food producers and experiencing years of rapid economic growth.(ANI)

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