Food Act Not Word Of God That Can't Be Changed: Kashmir Govt

19 December 2015

Jammu: Amid attack on National Food Security Act by opposition and separatists, Jammu and Kashmir government today hinted at reviewing implementation of the legislation, saying said it is 'not a word of God or a religious book which cannot be changed'. The state government assured people that there would be no reduction in the scale of rations because of the Act under which each person of a BPL family is entitled to only 5 kgs of ration per month at subsidised rates. 'We should not have let it (the law) become so controversial. But unfortunately, it has become controversial. We will consider reviewing the scale of giving 5 kgs of ration per person per month and I assure the people that we will not reduce the scale (of allocation),' Minister for Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution Chowdhary Zulfiqar Ali told reporters here. Ali said the department was collecting the data of the population on the basis of which a policy will be made and a reasonable ration scale would be maintained in the state keeping in view the circumstances here. 'We are collecting the information and making a data bank on the basis of which we will make a policy. There is no streamlined system as of now, we are trying to streamline the system,' he said. 'This legislation is not a word of God or a religious book which cannot be changed,' the Minister said, adding 'We will not let shortage of rations happen' and 'It is our responsibility to provide ration to the people.' He said the data was gathered in 2012 but the department has not finalized that. 'We have sent it (the department) back to the public (for recollection of the data) for correction,' he said. His comments came against the backdrop of attack on Food Security Act by opposition National Conference and separatist Hurriyat Conference which have said that people of Kashmir will be deprived of adequate foodgrains since rice is the staple food in the valley.