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‘All options open on food bill’

Amid talk of a special session of Parliament on the Food Security Bill, government on Monday said all options are open on the issue.

The remarks of Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath assume significance as they came after a meeting of the UPA Co-ordination Committee called by Congress to elicit views of the allies on the key issue.

‘All the options on the food security Bill on how to go ahead with it are still open. We will be considering that further in the days to come,’ Kamal Nath said after the meeting.

He, however, said no discussions were held on the proposed food bill, which is a pet project of Congress chief Sonia Gandhi aimed at giving legal rights to 67 per cent of the population over a uniform quantity of 5 kg foodgrains at a fixed price of Rs 1-3 per kg through ration shops.

Monday’s consultations came close on the heels of more than a three-hour meeting of the Congress Core Group two days ago in which it was decided that Kamal Nath will speak to other political parties and if they agree, a special session may be convened to take up the Bill. The meeting lasted for  one-and-a-half-hours.

The refrain of leaders from diverse parties was that the food bill did not come up for discussion. But it could have been just a stance in the wake of Opposition pressing for advancing the monsoon session of Parliament instead of just calling a special session to clear the legislation.

Pointing out that BJP is in favour of passing the Food bill with some amendments, party chief Rajnath Singh on Monday asked the government to advance the monsoon session of Parliament for the purpose.

‘We are ready for a debate on food security and land acquisition Bills. We want these bills passed with some amendments. The monsoon session be advanced for this,’ he told reporters in Hyderabad.
MPost

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