Cabinet clears Ordinance to implement Food Security Bill

Cabinet clears Ordinance to implement Food Security Bill

Scheme aims at providing 5 kg grain per person per month

Cabinet clears Ordinance to implement Food Security Bill

The Union Cabinet on Wednesday decided to promulgate an ordinance for the Food Security Bill ahead of the monsoon session of Parliament.

The scheme aims at providing 5 kg grain per person per month to 67 per cent of the country’s population at the rate between Re 1 and Rs 3 per kg. The grain would include rice, wheat and coarse cereals. The scheme will benefit 800 million people. The government will have to spend Rs 1,25,000 crore on the scheme, making it the biggest food security programme in the world. Opposition parties have sharply reacted to the decision.

“Monsoon session is due in July and the government has recommended ordinance for the National Food Security Bill. This is a deliberate attempt to denigrate Parliament. Why this hurry? Are they going for early elections, leader of the opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj tweeted. 

The CPM termed the move undemocratic. “The government has shown contempt for Parliament where such major legislation should have been discussed and adopted,” CPM General Secretary Prakash Karat said.

CPI national secretary D Raja said that the government should have advanced the monsoon session of Parliament if it was keen and honest to get the Food Security Bill passed.

He said that the current bill is not acceptable and it needs drastic changes.The Samajwadi Party also termed the move as undemocratic. However, the Congress stayed upbeat and gave the credit to Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi.

“The opposition's failure to help passage of the Food Security Bill forced the government to go in for an ordinance to give the country's two-third population the right to grain at subsided rates,” general secretary Ajay Maken told reporters.  Maken insisted that the bill could see the “light of the day” only due to concerted efforts of Sonia and Rahul Gandhi. The ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) is not certain of the passage of the Bill which is pending with Parliament and could not be passed owing to disruptions.

Different perceptions on the issue have led political parties including the Shiromani Akali Dal, Biju Janata Dal, TMC, the AIDMK and the Left to propose several amendments to the bill in the last session of Parliament.  Samajwadi Party is opposed to the bill as it feels that it would harm the interest of farmers.