Food Bill unlikely in Monsoon session
New Delhi: The UPA government's ambitious Food Bill is unlikely to come up for discussion and passage in the coming Monsoon session as the Parliamentary Committee has sought more time for vetting the legislation.
"We have sought time for submission of report on the Food Bill," Vilas Muttemwar, Chairman, Parliamentary Standing Committees on Food, Consumer Affairs & Public Distribution said.
Sources said the Committee has sought time till end of monsoon session for its report on the legislation that promises subsidised food security to over 63 percent of the country's population.
They said now the legislation could be taken up at the earliest for clearance only in the Winter session.
National Food Security Bill, 2011, which was introduced in Lok Sabha by Food Minister K V Thomas at the fag end of Winter session last year was referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee for approval.
Asked for reasons for seeking extra time, Muttemwar said since members were engaged in assembly elections in five states they could not finish the job.
"Now the process has gained momentum and programmes have been chalked out for members' tour of different states to elicit their views on the legislation," he said.
Muttemwar said the Committee which had invited views from masses on the proposed Bill has received response from over two lakh people, in addition to that from many NGOs and other stakeholders.
The Bill could not be taken up for clearance during Budget session as Thomas said consultations were still on to sort out problems raised by states and that it can be taken up only in the next Monsoon session.
West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and some other states have pointed out problems in implementation of the programme considered to be pet project of UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi.
States have also pointed out transportation cost on foodgrains being carted to the PDS shops which is presently put on the consumers, besides issues like adding storage capacity and computerisation of PDS outlets for smooth implementation of the scheme.
Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar has also in the past expressed worries over procurement of foodgrains for the scheme.
Concerns were also raised on the enhanced subsidy bill for implementation of the legislation which will scale it up by an an additional Rs 27,663 crore.