Rumblings of discontent about the food security bill have started within the UPA government as Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar on Sunday wanted amendments in legislation in ways suggested by his ministry.
According to Pawar, the proposed bill has not just raised questions within the country but there are growing concerns about it at the Food and Agriculture Organisation, a UN body.
Speaking at a grape growers’ association meeting in Pune, Pawar said: “I am not against the food security bill. My insistence is that even as it is the government’s responsibility to feed the poor, it should be ensured that farmers also survive while his produce gets adequate prices.”
He further said, “There is a need to ensure that farmers’ tendency to work hard shouldn’t be destroyed by the proposed bill.”
According to Pawar, his ministry has proposed certain amendments in the bill. “I have suggested that schemes such as the Employee Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) should be suspended when farming activity is in full swing so that employment can be made available to the agriculture sector.”
The government was willing to incorporate this amendment when the bill was passed during the current parliamentary session, he said.