Proposed food bill will burden states: Dhumal

December 28th, 2011 - 7:53 pm ICT by IANS  

Shimla, Dec 28 (IANS) Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal Wednesday expressed his reservations to the draft Food Security Bill, 2011, saying the central government is burdening the states with the task of implementing its schemes.

“The UPA (United Progressive Alliance) government is launching one scheme after the other and the states are being forced to implement them. Why are the states being forced to implement the schemes by using their own resources when they have their own programmes as per local needs,” Dhumal told reporters here.

He said the Food Security Bill would burden the states. “The forced distribution of food grain, as contemplated under the bill, will entail an additional financial burden on the states with no statutory commitment from the central government. Why should we bear the cost,” he questioned.

“The proposed bill is not practically possible,” the chief minister said, adding that the state has already expressed its dissent with the central government on the issue.

He also questioned the central government’s move to provide rice at Rs.2 a kg and wheat at Rs.3 per kg to the target groups. “Who will produce the food grain for the nation,” he asked.

Dhumal pointed out that his government has a strong public distribution system.

“We are having a subsidised ration scheme for all ration card holders where three pulses, cooking oil, mustard oil and salt are being provided at subsidised rates. We are spending more than Rs.130 crore annually on providing cheap rations to people,” he said.

In Himachal Pradesh, there are 16.31 lakh ration card holders, who include 11.17 lakh above the poverty line, 3.16 lakh below the poverty line and 1.97 lakh ‘Antyodaya’ (poorest of poor) families.

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