With the Congress-led UPA government's ambitious food security bill slated to come up for consideration in Parliament on Monday, thr BJP on Sunday said it will support the proposed legislation.
The bill, hailed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as the "most important" legislation, proposes to give the country's two-third population the right to highly-subsidised food. It will come up for consideration in Lok Sabha tomorrow.
"BJP will not oppose the food security bill in Parliament. We will support it," BJP president Rajnath Singh said.
He said it was unfortunate that Congress had been unable to remove poverty in the country even after being in power for so many years and lamented that it had failed to provide even basic food to them.
"The poor are not poor because of their own misfortune, but because of the misgovernance of the UPA," he said.
Singh claimed that over one crore people in Delhi were still living without basic amenities and promised to remove poverty in the next five to seven years.
Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi took a dig at the UPA's food security measure and its plank of inclusive growth.
"Congress has done nothing inclusive, only excluded people. Today, the term 'inclusive growth' is popular. Was this word there earlier? Why has it to be used today? Congress has made condition of poor such that they have to talk of food security," he said in Hyderabad.
Being seen as a 'gamechanger' by Congress for the general elections scheduled next year, the bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday after government rejected apprehensions that it would impinge upon the rights of states.
Food minister KV Thomas had 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 right to the country's 80 crore people to get 5 kg of foodgrains every month at Rs. 1-3 per kg, Thomas had said there is nothing in it against the states.
As per the provisions of the bill, beneficiaries would get rice at Rs. 3/kg, wheat at Rs. 2/kg, and coarse grains at Re 1/kg. These rates would be valid for three years.
Every pregnant woman and lactating mother would get free meal during pregnancy and six months after child birth. They will also get maternity benefit of Rs. 6,000 in instalments.
Children up to 14 years would get free meals.
In case of non-supply of foodgrains, states will have to pay food security allowance to beneficiaries, as per the bill.