New Delhi: CPI(M) on Friday slammed the proposal for an overhaul of the Food Corporation of India (FCI) put forward by a high-level panel and said it was a "blueprint to destroy India's public distribution, procurement and storage systems and to hand it over to market forces".
Raising strong objections over the recommendations of the Shanta Kumar Committee, the CPI(M) Politburo said it will mobilise the public and continue its struggle for a universal public distribution system and against targeting based on fraudulent estimates of BPL and APL.
"The Shanta Kumar Committee report, which was self- confessedly prepared under the guidance of the PMO, is a blueprint to destroy India's public distribution, procurement and storage systems and to hand it over to market forces.
"CPI(M) strongly opposes these recommendations, which will eliminate whatever little has been achieved in addressing the continuing problem of undernourishment and malnutrition among India's population. It will badly hit India's farmers and also affect the interests of food deficit states," the party said in a statement.
An eight-member committee was set up in August last year under the chairmanship of BJP MP Kumar to recommend a complete overhaul of the way the FCI functions. The panel recently submitted its recommendations to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
CPI(M) said that it was under pressure that the previous UPA government had brought the Food Security Act (FSA) which, although highly inadequate, covered 67 percent of the population and claimed that the Shanta Kumar Committee now wants to slash that down to 40 percent.
"This will make crores of people food insecure by bringing down the amount of foodgrain to be distributed from over 60 million tonnes to below 40 million tonnes," it said.
According to reports, after oil, a cut in food subsidy is on the anvil as a high-level panel has suggested giving cash to beneficiaries and shifting rice and wheat procurement to states that do not have provisions for administered purchase price.
"CPI(M) will oppose all moves to amend and dilute the FSA on the basis of these retrograde amendments. It will mobilise the people and continue its struggle for a universal public distribution system and against targeting based on fraudulent estimates of BPL and APL," the party said.