Agencies, New Delhi
Describing the Food Security Bill as a “historic opportunity” to transform the lives of tens of millions of Indians, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, the brain behind the much awaited legislation, today made a fervent appeal to the members of the Lok Sabha to pass the Bill setting aside their political differences. Speaking in Hindi on the Bill, which was taken up for consideration after frequent aborted attempts during the current session, Ms Gandhi said the House today had an historic opportunity to end the sufferings of the poor and the disadvantage.
“This bill gives a very clear message that the country is taking responsibility for the food security to all its people,” she said amid thumping of desks by the members from the treasury benches.
She said she was very happy that the promise made by her partyin its 2009 manifesto was being fulfilled through this legislation. Through this Bill, the government was carrying out its responsibility to those who had not benefitted so far from the prosperity achieved by the country. “Some people were questioning as to whether we have the resources to provide this food security, but it was not a question of having the resources or not, as we have got to mobilise resources for it. Some were doubting whether we can do it, but I say that we have got to do it,” Ms Gandhi added.
Ms Gandhi, during her about 10-minute speech delivered to a House in almost full strength with son Rahul Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in attendance, pointed out various shortcomings in the Public Distribution Scheme (PDS) and said the system had to be revamped to ensure the benefit of the proposed food security law reached to the targeted people.
She added that the country had to regain its economic growth rate. The UPA chairperson sought to highlight that the Bill would ensure participation of women self-help groups and gram panchayats, and later when the Aadhar card will be obtained by everyone, it would remove the problem of fake ration cards.
She also spoke about the deficiencies in the Integrated Child Development and Antodya schemes and said if these were not rectified, it would be a great injustice to the poor and the disadvantaged.
Ms Gandhi took the opportunity to recount some of the achievements of the flagship schemes of the UPA governments like the Right to Information Act, the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, the Right to Education Act, the Forest Rights Act and said the “Food Security Bill is the fifth in the series of our right-based approach” to bring about a revolution in the life of the people. “This is only a beginning. In essence, we have an opportunity to transform the life of tens of millions of people. We must set aside our differences,” she said making a “fervent and humble appeal” to all to support the Bill.