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Jaya says no to Food Security Bill

PTI  Chennai, August 25, 2013
First Published: 23:02 IST(25/8/2013) | Last Updated: 23:04 IST(25/8/2013)

Charging the Congress-led UPA government with not incorporating the amendments suggested by her in the Food Security Bill, Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa on Sunday said her party AIADMK will vote against it in the Lok Sabha on Monday.

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"Under these circumstances, the Food Security Bill with its present amendments, which is due to come up for discussion in Lok Sabha on August 28, 2013, is not acceptable. AIADMK will vote against the Bill," she said in a statement in Chennai.

The chief minister said most of the amendments brought in now would not benefit Tamil Nadu and most of her demands had not been accepted by the Central government.

In response to her concerns that the state'e monthly quota of rice would come down in the event of the implementation of the initiative, the Centre had only brought in an amendment that would ensure allocation of rice to states would not be cut down under the proposed act.

At the same time, the Centre had made a provision to allot 21.88 lakh tonnes of rice annually at Rs. 3 per kg to Tamil Nadu but mentioned that the rest 14.90 lakh tonnes will be given at a rate fixed by it.

"This is not acceptable. It will be fair if the entire 36.78 lakh tonnes of (the state's annual quota of rice) was allotted at Rs. 3 per kg," she said.

"If the Centre provided those 14.90 lakh tonnes of rice at its procurement price of Rs. 19.11, it will cast a burden on the state to an additional Rs. 1000 crore expenditure," she said.

Further, the state was spending around Rs. 5,000 crore per year on providing foodgrains for free or at subsidised rates, allocating Rs. 2,525 crore alone for supplying rice free of cost.

Jayalalithaa said she had written to Singh mentioning various other demands, including ensuring 100 per cent coverage of urban beneficiaries, seeking provisions that make it incumbent on Centre to take all measures including import of foodgrains when warranted and seeking that Clause 12 (2) (h), allowing Centre to introduce cash transfer and food coupon schemes, with a "clear indication that no such scheme may be introduced without the concurrence of the State Government."

None of these demands had been acceded to, she said.

The AIADMK supremo said her party, which has nine members in Lok Sabha, would support the bill only if the amendments sought by her were incorporated as the present ones will not benefit Tamil Nadu and asked her party's rival, DMK, to spell out its stand vis-a-vis, Food Security Bill.

"DMK chief Mr M Karunanidhi should make it clear if his party will support or oppose this bill which is still against the people of Tamil Nadu. If he supports the bill which usurps the rights of Tamil Nadu, it would be a betrayal of the people," she added.


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