Arun Jaitley picks holes in Food Bill


New Delhi: The much-touted Food Security Bill was taken up in Rajya Sabha, with opposition terming it as a 'gimmick' with an eye on elections and accusing government of violating constitutional norms by issuing an ordinance when Parliament session was less than a month away.
While supporting the Food Security Bill, Leader of the Opposition Arun Jaitley said it was 'repackaging' of various existing schemes like PDS, mid-day meal and ICDS and there was nothing new in it.
Speaking on a statutory resolution for disapproval of the Food Security Ordinance, Jaitley who was joined by CPI-M, CPI and AIADMK in moving it, said it was issued in a hurry and less than a month of beginning of Parliament session.
"An Ordinance is brought if there is a matter of utmost urgency and it can't await the Session of Parliament...What would have happened in 30 days that we couldn't wait. The Constitution does not allow so...It is misuse of your right to issue an Ordinance," Jaitley said.
Questioning the hurry in issuing the Food Ordinance, he said, "At best, it could be aimed at reaping political benefits."
Terming it as a 'repackaging' of existing food schemes run by various state governments, Jaitley said the total amount of subsidy provided under various food schemes like PDS, ICDS and Mid-Day meal scheme is Rs 1,24,844 crore and that provided in Food Security Bill is Rs 1,25,000 crore.
His party colleague Venakaiah Naidu said the Bill is a "gimmick" by the government as elections are a few months away and actually there will be no benefit for the people.
"For four and a half years you never thought of this. Suddenly a few months before elections you are rushing through this suddenly bring it before elections," he said.
Questioning the logic behind the Bill, Naidu said, "The Planning Commission says poverty has come down. If poverty has reduced, then why are you bringing this Bill? There is no satisfactory answer to this." 

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