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India's food bill a historic initiative, says Sonia
Publication Date : 27-08-2013
Stressing that India’s goal in the near future must be to “wipe out hunger and malnutrition” from India, congress president Sonia Gandhi yesterday described the National Food Security Bill as a “historic” initiative that, she asserted, will send out a “big, clear and concrete message to the country and the world that India takes responsibility for ensuring food security of all its people”.
Gandhi was speaking in favour of the Food Bill in the Lok Sabha (Lower House)--her first speech on any subject during the over four-year tenure of the 15th Lok Sabha so far--which finally took up the bill this afternoon for consideration and passage after a delay of many days.
Gandhi urged all political parties to rise to the occasion, “set aside our differences” and seize the “opportunity to transform the lives of tens of millions of our people” by “unanimously” supporting the Food Bill meant to “eradicate hunger and malnutrition of the poor, weaker sections, and the children”.
Opening the debate on behalf of her party, Gandhi said the congress had pledged in its manifesto for the 2009 general elections that it will come up with a legislation to ensure a legal-based right to foodgrains at highly subsidised rates to the poor and vulnerable sections.
Gandhi expressed her happiness that the proposal would finally turn into reality. She rejected the questions on whether the government has adequate resources to implement the Food Bill. “The question is not whether we have enough resources--we have to mobilise the resources. The question is not whether we can do it--we have to do it.”
The United Progressive Alliance chairperson also dismissed concerns that the bill was not in the interest of farmers, saying “farmers and agriculture will continue to remain our priorities”.
She welcomed that some sections of society have become the beneficiaries of the country’s recent economic progress, but expressed concern that some other sections have remained deprived.