» 08/27/2013, 00.00
India’s Parliament approves controversial Food Security Bill
The bill provides for the distribution of rice, cereals and flour at controlled prices to 800 million poor. After a day of consultations, the Lokh Sabha (lower house) votes in favor. Now it awaits ratification in Rajha Sabha (Upper House). Criticism from the opposition.
(AsiaNews) - After delays and criticism, the Indian Parliament has approved the
Food Security Bill, a decree that provides for the distribution of low-cost
food to 800 million poor. At
the end of a full day of consultations, last night the Lok Sabha (Lower House
or "House of the People") ratified the decree proposed by Congress
(the ruling party). In
the coming weeks it's up to the Rajya Sabha (Upper House or "Council of
States") to ratify the law.
decree imposes a month's supply of 5 kg of rice, wheat and grain per person at
tiered prices of - respectively - 3, 2 and 1 rupees per kilo. Supporters
of the Food Security Bill argue that it is a big step towards the elimination
of hunger and malnutrition, which affects two-thirds of India's population (800
million people out of 1.2 billion). For
critics it is dangerous for national finances. The
measure will cost 1.3 million rupees a year (23.9 billion dollars).
already launched the food distribution program last week, through an
executive order, but parliamentary ratification was necessary to make it
yesterday Sonia Gandhi - President of the Congress - spoke to the Lok Sabha to
support the Food Security Bill, of which she was one of the promoters. She hadn't addressed
parliament in over eight years. "Some
people - she said - ask us if we have the resources to implement such a
program. I would tell them that we have to find the resources. The point is not
whether we can do it. We have to do it."
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