The opposition ruled states on Wednesday ganged up against the food security bill, pushed by Food Minister KV Thomas on the initiative of UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi. The food ministers of Tamil Nadu, West Benal, Uttar Pradesh and Chhattisgarh wanted a series of changes in the Bill, the government proposes to introduced in the forthcoming session of parliament.
It now appears that the Congress plan to use food security as another flagship programmes stands doomed, in case these states continued their opposition.Congress president Sonia Gandhi and her son Vice-President Rahul Gandhi are the main votaries of this programme and pushing the government to roll it out as early as possible.
Tamil Nadu food minister R Kamaraj wanted his state exempted from implementing the food security, as it would only reduce the state's entitlement of foodgrains from the central pool. "Now our State is being allotted with 2.96 lakh Tonnes per month, but in the changed dispensation under the National Food Security Bill, our entitlement will drastically come down to 2.24 lakh Tonnes which is not acceptable," he said.
Chhattisgarh sought entitlement for the poor fixed at 35 kg per household per month instead of 7 kg per head per month, pointing out that its own food security scheme is much better than one proposed in the central bill. Uttar Pradesh pressed for covering 100 per cent rural population and 95 per cent of the urban population of the state on the ground that the state has very high percentage of population living below poverty line (BPL) unlike other states like Tamil Nadu, Punjab or Haryana and hence it should be dealth on different yardstick. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Bannerjee has already opposed the Bill, dubbing it as a "ploy" of the Centre to deceive people ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.