Narendra Modi objects to `flaws’ in Food Bill


New Delhi: On the eve of Tuesday’s all-party meeting on the Food Security Bill, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, who heads the BJP’s campaign committee for the Lok Sabha polls, has said in a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that he is opposed to the Bill in its current form, and sought a meeting of all Chief Ministers to discuss it.
The Bill is likely to be the major plank of the Congress-led UPA in the coming election.
In his August 7 letter to Dr Singh, the Gujarat CM said that the “Food Security Ordinance 2013 has been brought about with undue haste and has major flaws”.
He added: “As it is going to have far-reaching implications for the citizens of this country, and also on the agriculture sector, it would have been more appropriate to have the issues suitably debated and discussed at proper forums. A meeting of Chief Ministers needs to be called before the matter is finalised by Parliament (as) it is such an important Centre-state issue.”
Political parties have been speaking on the Food Security Bill in “ifs” and “buts” while backing it in-principle.
Political parties have also decided to give amendments to the Bill but it will be interesting to see whether they oppose the Bill on the floor and stage a walkout if the government refuses to incorporate their amendments.
Parties want Food Bill draft changed
Reports reveal that even the DMK is refusing to back the Food Security Bill in its current form. On the other hand, the Samajwadi Party on Monday said it will support the Bill in the Parliament if the amendments, including giving due price to farmers and changing the definition of those below the poverty line (BPL), suggested by it, are accepted.
“We have made certain suggestions like farmers should get 100 per cent guaranteed price for their crop. We also want the definition of below the poverty line to be changed so that more poor people are included. Free grains should be provided to the poorest,” Samajwadi Party leader Naresh Aggarwal told reporters outside Parliament House.
The main Opposition has said it will support the Bill provided its amendments are accepted. It has cited the Chhattisgarh Food Security Act as a model legislation on which the Centre should frame its Bill.
Parliamentary affairs minister Kamal Nath has called an all-party meeting on Tuesday for early passage of the Food Security Bill and other issues that include plans to bring political parties under the ambit of RTI Act and the recent Supreme Court judgement on disqualification of lawmakers.
The food security bill is currently under consideration of the Lok Sabha and there is a plan to bring it before the Rajya Sabha next week.
In his letter to the Prime Minister, Gujarat CM Narendra Modi has pointed out “major deficiencies,” in the Ordinance and claimed the Centre has given “unworkable statutory  responsibilities” to itself and the state governments . “This legislation actually does the reverse by not providing criteria or entitlements to ensure food security of the insecure families and individuals,” he said.

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