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March 15, 2000
Congress to bring cut motion on subsidy issue
Former Union food and civil supplies minister and Congress Working Committee or CWC member A K Antony today said his party would bring in cut motions in Parliament if the Centre did not rollback the hike in the prices of foodgrains supplied under public distribution system or PDS.
Talking to newspersons here, he denied that he had recommended restriction of food subsidy to the poor during his tenure as Union minister.
On the Congress election manifesto, which stated that food subsidy should be restricted to the poor, he said the party's stand would be made clear while bringing in cut motions in parliament.
"As per the criteria, even a couple who are fourth grade employees was above the poverty line. But, in real terms, they are not rich. In my opinion, food subsidy should be given to them also," he said, indicating a shift in the policy of the Congress regarding the question of food subsidy.
Antony, who is also the leader of the opposition in the state assembly, said a consumer state like Kerala, where statutory rationing system was in force since 1964, would be the worst hit by the Centre's decision.
He said the Kerala government had to spend an additional Rs 2 billion if it wanted to continue the food subsidy. The allocation of Rs 390 million in the budget would lead to closing down of ration shops and increase in prices of essential commodities in the open market.
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