The government will in next 10-15 days decide on issuing an Ordinance or convening a special session of Parliament for passage of the UPA government's ambitious National Food Security Bill.
Food Minister K V Thomas said besides Ordinance and special session of Parliament, the option before the government is also to issue an executive order to bring into effect some of the key provisions of the bill.
Food bill, which is dubbed as the world's largest social welfare programme, aims to give legal right over an uniform quantity of 5 kg foodgrains at a fixed price of Rs 1-3 per kg via ration shops to 67 per cent of the population. The amendments to the Food Bill could not be passed in the just concluded Budget Session as Parliament was marred by frequent disruptions. The bill was originally introduced in Lok Sabha in December, 2011.
"We have three options -- special Parliament session to get this bill passed, issuance of Ordinance and executive orders. The government will take a final decision on this issue in the next 10-15 days," Food Minister K V Thomas said.
In the run-up to the next year's general elections, Congress will try and use the Food Bill along with Land Acquisition Bill to blunt Opposition attack on its governance and corruption charges. When asked if legal right over subsidised foodgrains to beneficiaries could be given through Ordinance or executive orders, the minister said: "I have asked my Department to examine this issue."
Thomas said that he will soon write a letter to state governments to be prepared for rolling out of provisions of the Food Bill. Through an executive order, the minister said that the government can implement the main provisions such as giving uniform quantity 5 kg foodgrains per person at cheaper rate and maternity benefits.