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Pawar worried about Food Bill impact

india Updated: Dec 27, 2011 01:37 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
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Union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar on Monday again questioned the usefulness of the food security bill, now in Parliament for approval, saying he suspected the move would bring down people's work efficiency.

Pawar, who also heads the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), a key component in the ruling United Progressive Alliance at the Centre, had earlier sought clarity on the bill when it had come up for discussion in the Union cabinet.

Once the bill becomes effective, it will ensure that 60% of the country's population will get jowar at R1 per kg, wheat at R2 per kg and rice at R3 per kg.

"I am worried even if these policies are pro-poor, we need to see that such decisions taken in the public interests should not adversely affect people's penchant for work," Pawar said at a function.

Pawar pointed out that the falling "work culture" standards should be dealt with by bringing mechanisation to improve agricultural output.

In accordance with a fresh policy of the Maharashtra government, harvesters will be introducers for cutting sugarcane, a move Pawar supported and said the Centre would help the state in this endeavour.

Pawar is not happy with the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) either.

He had suggested to the Centre that the scheme be halted when farm operations were on so that there was no dearth of agricultural labour.

In another development he has asked the Maharashtra government not to get involved in deciding sugarcane prices, an issue that picks up political momentum every year as farmers demand more.

Speaking on the sidelines of the annual general meeting of the Vasantdada Sugar Institute on Monday, Pawar asked the government to shed the responsibility of supporting sugar factories on payment issue.