“An issue like food security, which affects millions in our country, requires deep and informed debate in Parliament. When the Monsoon session is just a few weeks away, such a discussion is possible, why then the hurry to pass an ordinance?” said a release by Right to Food Campaign, an umbrella of non-Government organisations.
Among its members are Aruna Roy, Jean Dreze, Kavita Srivastava, Nikhil Dey and Annie Raja.
The activists said important parties, including the CPI, CPI (M), Biju Janata Dal, Trinamool Congress and AIADMK, had moved amendments, which need to be heard.
“Most of these parties have placed amendments asking for universal coverage and opposing the reduction of entitlements from 7 kg to 5 kg per month,” they said, adding that the main Opposition party, BJP, also wanted to include provisions of the Chhattisgarh Food Security Bill, which was more progressive than the National Food Security Bill.
Flaws in Food Security Bill
Pointing out the flaws in the Bill, the activists said that it did not specify any timeframe for the rolling out of the entitlements in the law, and continues with a targeted public distribution system, excluding 33 per cent of the population.
“The Bill provides only for cereals with no entitlements to basic food necessities such as pulses and edible oils required to combat malnutrition,’’ they said and flayed the provision to allow the entry of private contractors and commercial interests in the supply of food in the mid-day meal and Anganwadi schemes.