Food Bill in LS amid protests
New Delhi, August 7
The government rejected apprehensions that it would impinge upon the rights of states. Leader of the Opposition Sushma Swaraj said: “Food Security Bill will be passed, but border security is more important than food security".
Food Minister KV Thomas introduced the fresh Bill after withdrawing an earlier one along with the ordinance which was promulgated on July 5.
Moving the National Food Security Bill, 2013, which promises to give 5 kg of foodgrains to the country’s 80 crore people at Rs 1 to 3 per kg every month, Thomas said there is nothing in it against the states. “It does not impinge upon the rights of states. It protects the Constitution,” he said allaying apprehensions expressed by Tamil Nadu parties, the AIADMK and the DMK, over the new law.
He said any concern the members had could be debated when the Bill comes up for discussion in the House.
Earlier, AIADMK member M Thambidurai opposed the introduction of the Bill saying it is against the Constitution and federal structure. “It is not Food Security Bill, it is actually Food Insecurity Bill,” he said, adding it should be brought only after consultations with the states.
DMK leader T R Baalu also said his party has issues with the Bill in its present form and would move amendments.
“It should not be detrimental to the state’s off-take (of food),” he said, noting that the proposed legislation will have far-reaching implications.
Bihar CM Nitish Kumar expressed support to the legislation but voiced concern over the possible increase in financial burden on the state exchequer. “We support Food Security Bill (but)... we have some concerns. We want to implement it but we are concerned about the additional financial burden on states,” he said.
Who said what
KV Thomas, Food Minister —
Swaraj, Leader of the Opposition —
M Thambidurai, AIADMK
— KV Thomas, Food Minister
— Sushma Swaraj, Leader of the Opposition
— M Thambidurai, AIADMK