Patna, Feb. 11: Chief minister Nitish Kumar today sought to position himself as the champion of the economically backward states by writing to the Prime Minister with the demand that the Centre must bear the entire expenditure of providing food security to the poor in the country.
The National Food Security Bill is proposed to be tabled in the coming budget session of Parliament.
“The central government should bear the entire cost of the proposed paradigm shift in addressing the problem of food security from the current welfare approach to the right based approach,” Nitish said in a letter addressed to Manmohan Singh. “Our considered view is that the bill is a central legislation which has been proposed in pursuant to the central government’s own planning and policy.”
While pleading to “absolve” Bihar in particular and other backward states in general from the additional financial burden in implementing the legislation, the chief minister demanded that the national and state food commissions must have one member each from Other Backward Classes (OBC) and the minority community besides two women and one member each from the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes as proposed.
Nitish’s proposed amendments appear to be part of his strategy to address his backward class and minority constituencies apart from keeping his dispensation free from any additional financial burden ahead of the Lok Sabha polls. Nitish also suggested that five of the seven members of the food commission be drawn from the rural areas.
In his letter to Singh, Nitish lambasted the “negative features” in the proposed food security bill, reminding that his government had on several occasions in the past apprised the Centre of Bihar’s fears.