Modi slams food bill, urges PM to call meeting of CMs

Gandhinagar, Aug 13 : Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi Tuesday said he has asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to convene an immediate meeting of chief ministers on the food security bill, contending that the legislation had many flaws and will not prove beneficial to the poor.

In a letter to the prime minister, written Aug 7 but released to media Tuesday, he said that the bill does not fulfill the basic objectives of food security.

Modi, who is the campaign chief of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, has also written to his counterparts in other states on the need to have a meeting of chief ministers.

Speaking to media persons, Modi said that the bill will not prove beneficial to the poor.

"This is a bill that will incapacitate the poor. There should be an immediate meeting of chief ministers to remove the shortcomings," he said.

He said the central government had fixed the number of beneficiaries at about 67 percent of country's population and states had to identify the beneficiaries under these fixed stipulations.

Modi said states would evolve their own criterion to identify beneficiaries and the central law will be implemented differently across the states.

He said the bill puts onus of managing foodgrains on states in case of shortage of production due to drought or other reasons.

"How will small states manage," he said.

Modi noted the bill has no additional provisions to ensure food security to Antodaya card holders, who come under poorest of the poor category.

The United Progressive Alliance government had brought National Food Security Ordinance (NFSO) which has now been introduced as a bill in the parliament.

Modi said that entitlement of poor families has been reduced from 35 kg per family to only 25 kg per month for a family of five.

He said a poor family in Gujarat will now have to incur Rs.85 more per month to avail 35 kg food grain.

He claimed the entitlements will also affect calorie intake of an individual, while the provisions does not address concerns on nutritional security.

--IANS (Posted on 13-08-2013)

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