press trust of india
NEW DELHI/LUCKNOW, 27 JULY: Describing the Food Security Bill as “historic”, Congress leader Mr Rahul Gandhi today asked partymen to take its message to grassroots and prepare the people to fight for their legal entitlement.
“We have given them a right. You prepare them to fight,” was the message of Mr Gandhi’s brief speech at the opening of a meeting of PCC chiefs and CLP leaders of all states on the food security issue even as partymen clamoured against Opposition parties appropriating Central government schemes in many states. The meeting, which was also addressed by Union Ministers Mr Jairam Ramesh and Mr K V Thomas, saw demands for naming the food security law after late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and giving a greater say to Congressmen in its implementation in opposition-ruled states.
Mr Gandhi said the Congress, after fulfilling commitments like Right to Education, Right to Information, Right to Employment (MNREGA), Right to Identity (Aadhar), has brought Right to Food. “This is for the first time in the history of the country that any government is legislating to give a right to food to citizens… you take the message in blocks and villages,” Mr Gandhi said.
As concerns were raised over anomalies in the PDS system, Mr Gandhi said since the Bill gives legal entitlements to people, it will build pressure on the existing institutions and bottom-up changes will happen. “His idea is that the legal right will fix the loopholes in the PDS. Giving it a legal status will put pressures on the system and bottom-up changes will happen,” said a participant.
“We must first understand the whole thing and then party cadres should help people understand it. The Government of India is bringing this Bill which will revolutionise the life of people at those strata where people have struggled,” Jammu and Kashmir PCC chief Saifuddin Soz quoted Mr Gandhi as saying.
BSP supremo Mayawati today supported the Centre&’s food security scheme but disapproved of its step to bring an ordinance, saying the measure should have been discussed in Parliament and passed with consensus. “Better late than never ~ Our party supports it in principle,” Miss Mayawati told reporters in Lucknow. However, she said “the ordinance has been brought in a hurry. It would have been better had it been discussed in Parliament. Good suggestions would have emerged and there would have been consensus over it.”