New Delhi: Prime Minster Manmohan Singh is likely to break his silence and make a statement on Friday in the Rajya Sabha on the missing coal block allocation files. The Opposition has been demanding Singh's statement on the missing coal block files. However, the big question is that whether PM's statement would end the deadlock and will that make way for the smooth passage of Sonia Gandhi's pet project the Food Security Bill.
The Bharatiya Janata Party has said that it will not let Parliament run until the Prime Minister explains how crucial files connected to the alleged illegal allocation of coal blocks went missing.
Parliamentary Affairs Minster Rajiv Shukla had on Thursday said that Singh may speak on the coal block files if the Coal Minster's statement does not meet the opposition's demands.
Discussion on the missing coal files will come up in Rajya Sabha after Zero Hour after which the Prime Minister is likely to intervene.
Meanwhile, Coal Minster Sriprakash Jaiswal has written to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) saying it has traced a few missing files.
The Congress is looking to pass the major bills like pension and Food Security Bill in the monsoon session. But the Opposition hasn't allowed Parliament to function smoothly over a numbers of issues. In an attempt to get wider support in the House, the Cabinet on Thursday also approved changes to the Food Bill.
Sources have told CNN IBN that the amendments will increase subsidies to Rs 5,094 to tide over allocations. The bill will now authorise government to make allocation of food grain at existing rates even for those who're officially Above the Poverty Line. The Congress is hoping that the bill will prove to be a game changer during the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
The bill entitles 67 per cent of the population of 5 kilograms per person rice, wheat and millets at Rs 3, Rs 2 and Rs 1 respectively. Poorest of the poor families will continue to receive 35 kilograms per household per month. Under the bill, pregnant and lactating women will get additional Rs 6000. Children between 6 months and 14 years will be entitled to free ration, hot cooked meal.
According to the bill, the existing allocations to states will be protected. The estimated annual food grain requirement is 612.3 lakh tonnes and total expenditure is Rs 1,24,724 crore. The state governments are free to frame their own criteria or use the SECC to identify beneficiaries.