Govt determined to push Food Security Bill; SP, BSP pledge support
  • This Section
  • Latest
  • Web Wrap
Last Updated: Tuesday, August 20, 2013, 11:33
Zee Media Bureau

New Delhi: In a major relief to the Congress-led UPA government, the Samajwadi Party (SP) on Tuesday said that it would support the Centre's flagship welfare legislation, the Food Security Bill, but with some amendments.

The Samajwadi Party led by Mulayam Singh Yadav today said that it would support the bill but with some amendments. The SP plans to move at least 7 amendments.

Meanwhile, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) supremo Mayawati also said that her party would support the crucial bill in Lok Sabha today.

The announcement from the two parties comes at a time when the UPA government faces a litmus test in getting party chief Sonia Gandhi's flagship welfare legislation, the Food Security Bill, passed in Parliament.

Minutes after the two houses of Parliament convened for the day, Opposition MPs led by BJP created a ruckus over coal scam and demanded the government to make a statement and demanded a probe by the CBI into the matter.

Meanwhile TDP MPs also went to well of the Lok Sabha, saying that the Centre is not addressing the real issues. The TDP MPs also raised slogans and posters over Centre's decision to create Telangana in Lok Sabha

Meanwhile, the Rajya Sabha too witnessed uproarious scenes after Opposition MPs led by the BJP created a furore over missing coalgate files.

With the din continuing, the two houses were adjourned.

Though the government is confident that its flagship scheme will be passed in the Lok Sabha today, it is also concerned over the large number of amendments (over 260) moved by the opposition parties.

The government yesterday said that it would accept all "workable" amendments. In view of large number of amendments from the Opposition, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath said the government is willing to accept those amendments which are "workable".

"We are looking at this situation that if it is an amendment which is workable, the government will move that amendment. It will come in as an official amendment," Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath told reporters outside Parliament House when asked about 260-odd amendments.

Keen to get the bill passed, the government agreed to some amendments to win over key allies Samajwadi Party (SP) and Telugu Desam Party.

Union Food Minister KV Thomas reportedly spoke to SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and TDP yesterday, which has been constantly disrupting the House on the issue.

The government wants to pass the bill in the Lok Sabha today, the 69th birth anniversary of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi.

To mark the occasion, Sonia Gandhi will launch the scheme in Delhi while Congress-ruled Haryana and Assam are also expected to start the right to food plan beginning today.

Most of the amendments moved by the opposition relate to making food security universal, including pulses and oil too, besides foodgrain, and increasing the entitlement from five to seven kg per person per month.

Among the parties which have moved the amendments are the BJP, the CPI-M, the CPI, the JD-U, the BJD, the Akali Dal, the DMK, the AIADMK and the TMC.

The government, which has already moved around 71 amendments, hinted it could move a few more to negate the ones moved by the opposition.

The Food Security Bill, expected to be a game-changer for the ruling Congress ahead of five assembly polls this year-end and the 2014 general elections, aims to provide subsidised foodgrain at prices much below the market rate to around 67 percent of India's 1.2 billion people; the bill would thus benefit about 800 million people.

The bill, part of the Congress manifesto for the 2009 polls, is expected to bring electoral benefits, just as the rural job plan, the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, is credited with the second term that the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) won in the 2009 polls.

If the Lok Sabha passes the bill, it could be taken up in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday as Wednesday is a holiday on account of Raksha Bandhan.

The bill will cost the government around Rs.1,24,723 crore and will entail an additional burden of only Rs.23,800 crore, the Congress has said.

The Food Security Bill was first introduced in Parliament in Dec 2011. It remained with a standing committee for a year, before it was taken to the Lok Sabha for consideration and passing in the budget session that ended May 8.

With Agency inputs

First Published: Tuesday, August 20, 2013, 09:07

comments powered by Disqus