‘Exempt Tamil Nadu from Food Security Bill’
By Express News Service - CHENNAI
14th February 2013 09:44 AM
Stating that Tamil Nadu had successfully enforced the Universal Public Distribution System (UPDS), the State government on Wednesday reiterated its demand that TN be exempted from implementing the Food Security Bill. The Central bill for food security is replete with confusion and inaccuracy, Tamil Nadu said.
At a meeting held in the capital to discuss the bill, Tamil Nadu Food Minister R Kamaraj recalled Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa’s observation: “In a federal structure like ours, where the States are in close and direct contact with the people, the choice of designing and implementing popular welfare schemes is at best left to the States.” He said this view had been endorsed by the Standing Committee on the Food Security Bill as well. Besides, observations in several places are in support of the stand taken by the Tamil Nadu government.
“The committee has recommended five kg of food grains per person uniformly for both priority and general categories. In Tamil Nadu, 12 kg is supplied per person. Most of the single-person households comprise widows and women. In the proposed system, they would be entitled only to five kg per month,” the Minister said and insisted that the minimum supply be 10 kg.
Further, the present allotment of 35 kg per family for AAY (Antyodana Anna Yojana scheme) families irrespective of number of family members should continue.
At present, Tamil Nadu is being allotted 2.96 lakh metric tonnes per month, but in the changed dispensation under the bill, the entitlement would drastically come down to 2.24 lakh metric tonnes. “We insist that the Centre revise the relevant clause of the bill and incorporate a provision to protect the present quantum of allotment. Mere passing of an executive order will not serve the purpose. There is no procedural clarity on the proposed classification of target groups as priority or general for the purpose of entitlements,” the Minister said.
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