Rahul Gandhi criticises opposition for 'stalling' Food Bill

Last Updated: Sun, May 19, 2013 05:10 hrs

Congress Vice President Rahul has criticised the opposition parties for stalling the Food Security Bill in Parliament, and asserted the UPA government was determined to enact the legislation for the benefit of people.

"I am sad that the opposition is acting against the interests of the poor Indian...I can understand politics. But I cannot understand political parties hurting the poor of the country," Gandhi told a party rally here yesterday.

"We have been working on the Bill for quite some time. But the opposition does everything that they can do to stall the Bill, he added.

Meanwhile, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has held the Congress Party responsible for the non-passage of the Food Security Bill during the budget session of Parliament.

"The Congress is in the habit of blaming the BJP for the non-passage of the Food Security Bill. It is absolutely rubbish. It is the Congress which should take the blame for Food Security Bill not getting the Food Bill passed during the Budget Session. And, we challenge, if they have real compassion for the poor, Congress should emulate the Chhattisgarh Food Security Act, which is the first Act giving food security to the common man," said Party spokesman Prakash Javadekar.

The National Food Security Bill was taken up for consideration on May 6, despite the uproar created by the opposition in the Lok Sabha over allegations of corruption.

Javadekar also attacked the Congress Party by saying that they are not at all sincere when they say about removing poverty from the country.

He cited an instance of former Prime Minister and Congress party stalwart Indira Gandhi's close aide who had used the slogan 'Garibi Hatao' (Abolition of Poverty) during the late 70s and early 80s whereas poverty still flourishes in the country.

"Even after thirty years of their 'Garibi Hatao' (Abolish Poverty) slogan, the poor still remain poor. Poverty has actually perpetuated and you are talking of providing food security even thirty years of your slogan, you are not sincere. For the Congress, the poor is just an election slogan. For BJP, it is a commitment," added Javadekar.

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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