Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi today attacked critics of the food security bill which was passed by Parliament last week, saying money spent on providing meals to the poor cannot be called "wastage" of financial resources.
He said the legislation is aimed at removing hunger from the country by giving people right to food which is part of a series of landmark initiatives of the UPA government such as Right to Information Act and Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act.
"Is providing food to people called wastage of money.... The opposition says it is a wastage of money. We want the poor people of the country to stand on their feet," Gandhi said.
The Congress vice-president was speaking at a function after handing over documents offering ownership rights to the first batch of residents of the resettlement colonies in Delhi.
The ambitious bill, expected to benefit 82 crore people in the country, is seen as a "game changer" by the Congress as it prepares to face general elections due in May next year. The BJP had termed the Bill as a "gimmick" with an eye on elections though the party supported it.
Some parties, including UPA's outside supporter Samajwadi Party, had criticised the bill saying it will put additional financial burden on states.
A section of the corporate world has also slammed the Bill saying it will increase the financial burden on the government when the economy was going through a difficult phase.
"We are giving rights to people. Rights means guarantee of development. After the food security legislation, no body in the country will remain hungry," Gandhi said, defending the food security scheme.
The bill was cleared by both houses of Parliament and it will become law once President Pranab Mukherjee gives assent to it.
In his address, Gandhi said UPA government has ensured inclusive growth by changing the development paradigm through a number of historic legislation like Food Security Bill, Right to Information Act and Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act.
"We have brought a number of legislation in the last 10 years which have changed the development paradigm. The aim of the legislations was to ensure rights to people," he said.