New Delhi: Congress president Sonia Gandhi Monday said it was time to take a “historic step” by legislating the food security bill that pledges to provide cheap staple food to the poor in India and urged political parties to pass it unanimously.
“It’s time to take the historic step,” Gandhi said in Hindi to thumping of desks by ruling party members as she spoke during a debate on the bill, her pet welfare legislation.
“It is my fervent appeal that we shall pass this unanimously. We are open to constructive criticism, we must rise above differences to pass this,” she said in English moments later.
Noting that “the food bill is meant for the less fortunate sections of our society”, she said: “It is a historic step to eradicate hunger.”
“It is time to send out a big message that India can take the responsibility of ensuring food security for all its citizens,” she said.
Stating that doubts have been expressed over the right to food bill, Gandhi said that the question was not that “do we have the means” but that “we will have to find the means” to implement the legislation.
“We have to do it,” she said emphatically, to further clapping from members of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance.
Gandhi noted that the farm sector and farmers were at the centre of the government’s policies.
Noting that there were shortcomings in the public distribution system (PDS), she said these issues will have to be addressed.
“The PDS needs reform. The leakage problem has to be addressed.”
“We are bringing an empowerment revolution in the country,” she said, while mentioning in this regard the Right to Information Act, the Right to Education Act and Forest Rights Act et al.