The United Progressive Alliance (UPA) is keen to push for the National Food Security Bill by initiating a special Parliament session, but it seems like the Opposition and other political parties won't make it easy.
The government could not pass landmark Bills - Food Security Bill and Land Acquisition Bill, in the recently concluded Budget Session that was adjourned sine die after the Opposition demanded the resignation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Law Minister Ashwani Kumar and Railway Minister Pawan Bansal over their involvement in corruption scams.
The Congress Core Group on Saturday decided to hold a meeting of UPA coordination committee on Monday with an aim to push through the much-delayed Food Security Bill. An all-party meeting is likely to be called on 7 June to find a consensus on the bill.
A special session of Parliament will be called if all parties agree to the UPA's suggestion. If not, the government has to opt for ordinance if it is to implement the Food Security Bill.
The National Food Security Bill is touted to be UPA's most ambitious move ahead of the Lok Sabha elections next year.
However, the opposition parties may not allow the UPA government to call for a special session for National Food Security Bill.
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders have diverse opinion on the proposed special session for Food Security Bill, with senior leader Sushma Swaraj saying they are not averse to the bill.
"There are media reports that government is considering the option of an Ordinance or to convene a special session of Parliament. The ordinance route for such an important legislation is not desirable. We are not opposed to a special session of Parliament," Opposition leader in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj tweeted, adding that the Parliament could advance the monsoon session for the bill.
However, senior BJP leaders Yashwant Sinha and Murli Manohar Joshi are against passing the bill, calling it 'disastrous'. Samajwadi Party (SP) said they are not averse to special session of parliament but is not in support of the legislation.
What is National Food Security Bill 2013?
Following a finding by the National Family Health Survey 2005-06 that 22 percent of India's population is undernourished, National Advisory Council (NAC) proposed the National Food Security Bill.
The government introduced the bill in Lok Sabha in the winter session with an aim to provide food and nutritional security to the citizens, by making sure that the poor and the needy have access to food at affordable prices. It aims to cover up to 75 percent of rural and 50 percent of the urban population.
"Our foodgrains position is, therefore, comfortable. The total stock of foodgrains with the public sector agencies was 662 lakh tons on 1st February 2013, including 307 lakh tons of wheat and over 353 lakh tons of rice. My Government is committed to enacting the National Food Security Bill, having received the recommendations of the Standing Committee," said President Pranab Mukherjee in his Budget session address.
The bill could not be passed in the Budget Session after the Opposition party disrupted the proceedings of the house demanding the resignation of prime minister, law minister and railway minister before passing the National Food Security Bill.