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Food Bill: NAC member questions delay, lists out constraints

Food Bill: NAC member questions delay, lists out constraints

New Delhi: The revised food security bill may have got the government nod and is likely to be brought in Parliament this week, but a NAC member has criticised the two- year delay in its passing, saying this crucial time could have been used to address policy issues that may pose hurdles in its implementation.

"The bill was first tabled in Parliament in 2011. I am deeply disappointed that its fate hanged in balance for past two years. There was no need to wait for two years and this period could have been utilised to address a number of major policy constraints that will continue to pose hurdles even when the law comes in force," N C Saxena said.

The National Advisory Council (NAC), an advisory body that gives suggestions on country's policy issues, played an important role in drafting of the legislation.

The Cabinet Tuesday approved changes to the Food Security Bill to grant the nation's 67 per cent population the right to get monthly quota of 5 kg foodgrains at highly subsidised rates of Rs 1-3 per kg.

The government intends to get the revised bill passed in the current session of Parliament that ends on May 10.

Saxena, who was appointed by the Supreme Court as Food Commissioner on issues related to food security, said the bill, in its current format, is different from how it was suggested by the NAC and there are various hurdles in thefight against hunger which have to be addressed.

Listing out some of the challenges, he said identification of the people getting entitlement, and of the 33 per cent of people who will be kept out of the ambit, "has not been done yet" and it is a major problem.

"Secondly, petty politics will also take its toll. Some states, where the number of poor was comparatively low but they were picking large quantities of foodgrains from the Central quota, will be against the bill," he said.


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