Thomas rules out Ordinance on Food Bill
New Delhi: Food Minister K V Thomas Thursday virtually ruled out bringing an Ordinance on the National Food Security Bill and favoured discussion on the proposed legislation in the coming session of Parliament.
"We have various options before us and the same were discussed with the Law Minister. My opinion is that Ordinance is not feasible. I understand the Law Minister has the same opinion," Thomas said after meeting Law Minister Kabil Sibal on the Food Bill issue.
"Let us have discussion in the Monsoon session of Parliament. I hope to see the passage of the Bill," he said.
The government had tried to get the Food bill passed in Lok Sabha in the recently-concluded Budget session. The debate on the proposed legislation could not be concluded amid din. The Bill was introduced in December 2011 in Parliament.
Amid talk of an ordinance on the Food Bill, the Law Ministry had warned that a law should not be implemented without putting a proper mechanism in place to distribute foodgrains.
The Law Ministry had told the Food Ministry during inter-ministerial consultations that without the list of intended beneficiaries with state governments in place and setting up of redressal mechanism, an ordinance should not be promulgated as it would make the proposed law meaningless.
That apart, it had also observed that the legal rights over foodgrains to a citizen cannot be guaranteed through an Ordinance and it can be provided only by Parliament through an Act.
The Food Bill aims to give legal right over a uniform quantity of 5 kg foodgrains at a fixed price of Rs 1-3 per kg via ration shops to 67 percent of the population. The annual food subsidy will increase to Rs 1.2 lakh crore from the existing Rs 85,000-90,000 crore after implementation of the proposed law.