New Delhi: Government is likely to convene an all-party meeting soon on the ambitious Food Security Bill before it is taken up in Parliament. "We are planning to convene an all-party meeting before taking up for further proceedings. It is likely to be held in a day or two," a Minister, who did not want to be identified, told reporters.
The National Food Security Bill gives the right to food to around 67 per cent of India's 1.2 billion population. The Government's move to hold such a meeting came in the backdrop of Opposition parties including the Left demanding that the legislation be sent to the standing committee or a joint select committee of Parliament as their several concerns are not addressed.
The Government tried to bring the bill in the first half of Budget session of Parliament, but it did not materialise due to differences. The Cabinet had given its nod to the modified Food Security Bill in March. According to it, about 62 million tonne of foodgrains would be required to implement the bill, while the food subsidy is estimated at Rs 1,24,747 crore at 2013-14 costs, which is Rs 23,800 crore higher than the existing level.
The beneficiaries would be decided by state governments, while the criteria to exclude 33 per cent of the population would be provided by the Planning Commission. In the original Bill introduced in the Lok Sabha in December 2011, the Centre had proposed 7 kg of rice or wheat or millet a month for priority category at Rs 3, Rs 2 and Rs 1 per kg respectively, while at least 3 kg per person per month for general households at 50 per cent of the support price.