Declaring Congress' goal to "wipe out hunger and malnutrition", Congress President Sonia Gandhi today asked all political parties to set aside differences and support the Food Security Bill so that a "big message" could be sent out about India's capabilities.
Opening the Congress innings on the debate in Lok Sabha on Food Bill, she rejected questions over whether the country had resources to implement the landmark measure.
"It is time to send out a big message that India can take responsibility of ensuring food security for all Indians... our goal is to wipe out hunger and malnutrition all over the country," Sonia Gandhi said about her pet agenda.
Making a strong pitch for smooth passage of the landmark legislation, the UPA Chairperson said the measure is a historic opportunity to provide food security to tens of millions of people in the country which will end the problem of hunger once for all.
Sonia Gandhi sought to dismiss questions over whether the ambitious scheme could be implemented. "The question is not whether we have enough resources or not and whether it would benefit the farmers or not. We have to arrange resources for it. We have to do it," she said in the House where Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was present.
Sonia Gandhi said farmers and agriculture have always remained priority of the UPA.
Agreeing that reforming public distribution system (PDS) was a must for the food law, Sonia Gandhi noted that there was basic need to remove the leakages to ensure that benefits of the food bill reached the intended beneficiary.
Sonia Gandhi said the Congress had made a commitment to the nation in the 2009 election manifesto to bring forward such a legislation. It is one in a series of various rights promised and provided by UPA like Right to Information, Right to Education, Right to Work and Right to Forest Produce.
Sonia Gandhi said the House got an opportunity today to take a historic step to end difficulties of the poor.
"This legislation is only a beginning. As we move forward, we will be open to constructive suggestions; we will learn from experience," she said.
In essence, she said, the country has an opportunity to transform the lives of tens of millions of our people.