A setback it suffered on the decision to permit foreign direct investment in multi-brand retail has prompted the UPA government to fast-track its most ambitious social security idea: The Food Security Bill.
The Bill will now be discussed at a Cabinet meeting slated for December 14, so that it can be presented in Parliament before the current winter session gets over eight days later, a senior official said on Thursday. The proposed legislation seeks to provide legal entitlement for cheap food to three-fourth of the country’s rural population and half of the urban population.
The Bill was cleared by an empowered group of ministers (eGoM) on July 12. However, at the initiative of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, it underwent some key changes. They include the inclusion of a provision to distribute an allowance of Rs 1,000 per month to all pregnant and lactating women, in addition to cheap grains.