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Food Security Bill: BJP raises doubts, Nitish okays it

December 19, 2011 19:31 IST

The Bharatiya Janata Party on Monday raised doubts over whether the proposed Food Security Bill approved by the Union Cabinet would achieve its objectives, wondering whether it would turn out to be another "scam".

The BJP also wanted to know from the government how much Budgetary support would come to implement the provisions of the Bill.

"We have concerns, as the government's own partners have expressed opposition to the programme...If the budgetary provision is not made and the Bill is passed, it will be like another fraud with the nation," said BJP spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy.

The BJP leader expressed apprehensions whether the programme for providing food to the poor and those below poverty line would be successful or would become another scam.

"Would it be a successful programme or another burden on the nation or will become another scam like the PDS. We are concerned on this," Rudy said.

He said the Food Security Bill can provide food to the poor and those living below the poverty line, especially in rural areas and "can become a good programme".

He, however said, "We would like to see its shape and proposal. What the government does for providing revenue for the programme. What the government does for its budget provisions, because a major part of the revenue will come out of the government's budget.

Meanwhile, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has said he had no objection to the Food Security Bill proposed by the Centre but said the government should keep in mind the state's concerns.

"I have given my point-wise opinion to the draft I received for the proposed bill... I have no objection but I will like that the state's concerns be kept in mind," he told reporters.

"There are two-three concerns, which I explained when the draft was sent, like the identification of BPL be made by an independent commission," he said, adding the Centre should bear the financial burden for implementing it.

"The states are not in a position to meet the burden on this head," he said.

Kumar said the commission should have representation from people of weaker sections of society, apart from representatives from minorities, SC, ST, backward class and women from rural background.

In reply to a question, he dismissed Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee's claim that Centre had provided the package along the lines demanded by Bihar and stressed the need for according special category status to it in view of its economic and industrial backwardness.

"Now that the central government has chosen to provide central assistance as a special plan to West Bengal for development of backward regions, our case for special treatment to Bihar because of its economic and industrial backwardness, high population density and low tax base is all the more justified," he said.

Bihar has shown improved financial performance and expenditure management, Kumar said, adding he regretted that the Centre has not accepted their demand despite of repeated pleas.

Bihar, he said, is below the national average of economic backwardness and industrial progress indices. "The states per capita income stands at 1/7th of the per capita income of Delhi and 1/3rd of the national average. Its per capita gross fixed capital formation through the central investment is 1/10th of the national average," Kumar said.
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