Zee Media Bureau
New Delhi: The second day of the Monsoon Session of Parliament is set to witness a fierce debate on the UPA government`s ambitious Food Security Ordinance, which is being projected as a game changer for nearly 67% of the country`s total population.
Among other issues, which are likely to impact the proceedings of the two Houses on Tuesday, are Telangana and the suspension of IAS officer Durga Shakti Nagpal by the Akhilesh Yadav government of Uttar Pradesh.
Though the political parties have indicated their willingness to debate the Food Security ordinance, the opposition is likely to press for key changes to the anti-poverty legislation.
The government had last month issued an ordinance - a provision to enact laws when Parliament is not in session - to give 67% Indians, or about 800 million people, the legal right to cheap food.
To continue as a permanent law, both Houses must approve the ordinance. The government is expected to bring a Bill to replace the food security ordinance, possibly on Wednesday.
The BJP and the Left parties are likely to move amendments demanding 90% coverage. The BJP is likely to cite its variant — the Chhattisgarh Food Security Act — to demand a clear exclusion criterion.
Ahead of the commencement of the Monsoon Session of Parliament, BJP said that it would seek amendments in the Food Bill as several concerns were to be addressed before its passage.
Party spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said, "There are concerns, including what would happen to the existing PDS system and the financial implications of implementing the new law, and protecting the farmers` interest.
What has come as a big relief for the Congress is the softening of stance on Food Security by Samjawadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, who said that his party would support the ordinance if the government promises to protect the interests of farmers and ensures that they get profit over their produce.
His remarks are significant as they come against the backdrop of reports that the issue of suspended IAS officer Durga Sakthi Nagpal could cast a shadow over Congress` bid to secure SP`s support on the food measure.
"If they promise that the farmers` interests will not ignored and they will get profit over their produce, then we can support the bill," Yadav told reporters yesterday.
To a question on whether SP`s stand on the food legislation has toughened after Congress raised the issue of suspension of 28-year-old Nagpal, Yadav said the two issues were not related and "our stand on food security bill is known for a long time".
The first day of the Monsoon Session got off to a stormy start with the demand for smaller states forcing repeated adjournments of both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha. After several disruptions, both the houses were adjourned for the day.
The Monsoon Session began from August 5 and the House will be in session till August 30, 2013 and will have a total of 16 sittings. The agenda for legislation includes 32 pending Bills for consideration and passing while 25 Bills are listed for introduction out of which 11 Bills are listed for consideration and passing during the session.