After the government could not thrash out a political consensus on holding a special session of Parliament or to advance the monsoon session to discuss the National Food Security Bill, it is reconsidering the Ordinance route, sources said.
According to officials, the government is again planning to discuss an ordinance to implement the proposed law in the next Cabinet meeting, set for Thursday.
Officials pointed out the issue had been pending since the last Cabinet meeting and had not been withdrawn but only deferred to forge a consensus between political parties to either hold a special session of Parliament or advance the monsoon session to discuss the Bill.
Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar and Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh were among the most vocal against bringing an ordinance to implement the food Bill.
Pawar had met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh hours before the last Cabinet meeting where the ordinance was slated for discussion, to convey his opposition.
After the Cabinet meeting, Finance Minister P Chidambaram had told reporters that a decision on bringing the ordinance has been deferred for the time being and a team of senior ministers including Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath, Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde and Food Minister K V Thomas would hold discussions with all major political to arrive at a consensus for clearing the Bill.
The draft Bill seeks to provide legal entitlement for cheap grains to almost 67 per cent of the Indian population. It is expected to cost the exchequer Rs 1,31,000, up from the Budgeted Food Subsidy of Rs 90,000 crore in 2013-14.
Talks on cut in central schemes
The Cabinet is expected to discuss a proposal of the Planning Commission to bring down the number of Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSSes) to 70 from 147 and allow states flexibility to use 10 per cent of the allocated funds under each CSS. Officials said the issues have been listed for Cabinet’s consideration on Thursday. The proposal, to be implemented from 2014-15, has been framed in line with the recommendations of a committee constituted under the chairmanship of Planning Commission member B K Chaturvedi.