Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on Saturday said Tamil Nadu would be hard-hit by the Food Security Ordinance promulgated by the Central government since it had ignored the serious concerns raised by her on various counts earlier. The Centre is duty bound to protect the food security of States like Tamil Nadu, she added.
“I have strong reasons to suspect that the Central government is deliberately trying to create a food security crisis for Tamil Nadu,” the Chief Minister said in her letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. “The Central government, on the one hand adopts arbitrary principles and formulae for allocation of foodgrains in the guise of the Food Security Ordinance, and on the hand acts against the interests of the State in receiving its due share of water in the River Cauvery, which is crucial for paddy cultivation in the delta areas,” Jayalalithaa charged.
In the context of Tamil Nadu, the Food Security Ordinance would be Food Insecurity Ordinance, she observed, adding that Tamil Nadu has been successfully implementing the UPDS for several decades. The UPDS depended on the rice procured within Tamil Nadu and the allocation from the Central pool of foodgrains. As such, the present level allocation to the State from the Central pool should be retained without any diminution. But the Ordinance did not have any such proviso.
Section 3(2) of the Ordinance envisages that nationwide, 75 per cent of the rural population and 50 per cent of the urban population are to be covered as households eligible for allocation of subsidised foodgrains. “This is totally arbitrary allocation principle with no rational basis,” she added.
Jayalalithaa said since there was no food production in urban areas, the urban coverage should be 100 per cent or at least 75 per cent on par with rural areas. Tamil Nadu with an urban population of 49 per cent has the highest level of urbanisation amongst major states in the country and is going to be hit hard by this Ordinance.