Food bill not in farmers’ interest, says SP

The Samajwadi Party plans to vote against the food security bill in Parliament during the monsoon session starting on Monday.

Talking to HT over the phone, SP general secretary Naresh Agarwal, MP, said the party had strong objections to the bill in its present form. “We will vote against it,” he said.

When asked what amendments the party wanted, Agarwal said SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav would elaborate on it.

Agarwal said the bill had many shortcomings and was against the interest of farmers.

Immediately after the union cabinet cleared the food ordinance last month, Yadav had expressed his displeasure over the provisions of the bill.

He had also suggested that instead of charging Rs 2-3 per kg, wheat should be given free of cost to the targeted people.

The SP government had already registered its protest against the provisions of the bill.

During the discussions with the central government in February 2013, the officers of UP food department had raised several issues including the coverage of rural and urban population.

Chief minister Akhilesh Yadav had also written a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, pointing out certain lacunae in the bill.

According to food department sources, the UP government had asked for full coverage of the population in rural areas and 95% in urban areas under the food security plan. The present bill would not cover the entire population.

Under the present bill 75% and 50% of the population in rural and urban areas respectively had been covered.

The state has nearly 37.7% (7.38 crore) of its population living below the poverty line (BPL).

Under the present formula, a large number of population would be left uncovered.

The state has also asked for full reimbursement of additional expenses on the implementation of the central government project.

 

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