'Food dole, job plan may affect work culture' | india | Hindustan Times
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'Food dole, job plan may affect work culture'

Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar on Sunday said the Centre's proposed food security programme and the existing rural job guarantee scheme could affect work culture in the targeted segment - the poor. Pradip Kumar Maitra reports.

india Updated: Jan 27, 2013 23:48 IST
Pradip Kumar Maitra

Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar on Sunday said the Centre's proposed food security programme and the existing rural job guarantee scheme could affect work culture in the targeted segment - the poor.

The Nationalist Congress Party chief also questioned the necessity of bringing 67% of the population under the flagship food security bill.

"It should be reconsidered. Under the new scheme, a subsidy of Rs1.10 lakh crore will be required. This will put unbearable strain on the Union budget," he told mediapersons.

Pawar, however, made it clear that as a matter of principle he was not against giving concession on foodgrains to the poor who deserved it.

"But, if we project that nearly 70% of the population needs such dole, the question that will inevitably crop up is what have we done in the last 65 years to alleviate poverty."

He added, "It reflects rather poorly on our economic achievements. Instead of covering such a large number of people, it would make sense to target only the needy poor."

Pawar, who started a three-day tour of Vidarbha, also said the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme needed a lot of change. He said sowing and harvest operations in private farms could be brought under the NREGS.

"Right now, it is getting difficult to get farm hands because wages for two days of work under the NREGS is enough to buy foodgrains for a month and most of the men are preferring to sit idle for the rest of the time."

Pawar said his ministry had already suggested some changes to the rural development ministry.