Decision on Food Bill likely next week



New Delhi: The government is likely to firm up next week a view on how to go about the Food Security Bill. Indications to this effect were available today with the government sources saying a decision will be taken only after Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar's return from Rome where he has gone to attend FAO conference.

A meeting of the Congress core group today, which was to take up the issue, instead focussed on the situation caused by devastating floods in Uttarkhand.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath and Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde are expected to hold further talks to evolve a consensus on the matter.

The talk in government circles is that an ordinance is unlikely at the moment and the government will wait for the next session of Parliament to see the passage of the bill which is seen by Congress as a game-changer for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

Congress leaders say party chief Sonia Gandhi, as also party Vice President Rahul Gandhi, are in favour of having discussions in Parliament on the Bill that seeks to give legal rights over subsidised foodgrains to 67 per cent of the country's population.

Last week, the government had put on hold its plans to bring an ordinance on Food Security in the face of opposition within and outside and decided to make another attempt to evolve a consensus to get it through in a special session of Parliament.

The view in a section of Congress is that there is no need to handle the Food Security Bill issue like the Indo-US nuclear deal and government should reach out to the opposition to get its support.

PTI