New Delhi: President Pranab Mukherjee today said food deprivation should not be allowed to continue in India and was hopeful of early passage of the proposed Food Bill.
Mukherjee expressed concern over declining growth in the farm sector but felt confident that agriculture will soon return to higher growth path.
He also emphasised on doubling food production to meet rising demand and called for ushering of second Green Revolution, which should be more widespread.
"Food deprivation cannot be allowed to continue. Steps are required to secure for the poor and the needy greater access to food," Mukherjee said, addressing a conference on `Doubling foodgrains production in 12th Plan period` organised by industry body Crop Care Federation of India (CCFI).
"We have relied on a rights-based method and empowered our citizens with legal entitlements. The landmark Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act of 2005 is one such example. I am hopeful of the proposed legislation for provision of food security to our people becoming a reality soon," he said.
UPA government`s ambitious Food bill, introduced in Parliament in December 2011, aims to provide legal right on subsidised foodgrains to 67 per cent of the population. A Parliamentary panel has recommended drastic changes in it and the same is being studied by the Food Ministry for policy formulation.
Stating that farm sector deserves high priority in the policy making, Mukherjee said it would be a test to double foodgrains production in the next five years. He noted there would be several benefits if the country is able to achieve quantum jump in food output.
"In the context of the current production levels, doubling food production in next five years will be a test of our capacity to successfully employ all possible growth- inducing measures," he said, but added that this task wan "imperative" and cannot be "ignored."