Food Bill overlooking genuine needs of people: Rights groups
New Delhi: Terming the recommendations of a the Standing Committee on the Food Security Bill as "eyewash", a number of rights groups on Tuesday said the proposed law should not be tabled in the Budget session of Parliament without incorporating their key demands.
At a press conference, members of the 'Right to Food Campaign' accused the Standing Committee of undermining the broad "goal" of the proposed legislation and slammed the government for not addressing their demands seriously.
The 'Right to Food Campaign' is a conglomerate of various peasant and human rights associations and NGOs which have been demanding a comprehensive Right to Food legislation.
The Food Security Bill aims to give legal rights over subsidised foodgrains to two-third of the country's population.
According to the recommendation of the Parliamentary panel, all the beneficiaries, without categorising them as priority and general households, should be given 5 kg of wheat and rice per month at a uniform rate of Rs 2 and Rs 3 per kg, respectively, under the proposed Food Bill.
The Centre had proposed 7 kg foodgrains per person to priority households at cheaper rate and 3kg to general household at half of the support price.
If the Parliamentary panel's recommendations are accepted, it will benefit the general population in both price and quantity, while BPL members could get lesser quota than what was proposed in the original Bill.
The activists slammed the parliamentary panel for not making recommendations to extend any legal guarantee for providing pulses, oil and sugar in the public distribution system.
"Absence of legal guarantees to pulses, oil, sugar etc will fail to ensure good nutrition for all as the prohibitive prices of these food items would prevent a large proportion of Indian population from accessing them," public health activist Mira Shiva said.