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UPA to try and get food Bill passed in the Lok Sabha today

Food minister K V Thomas meets Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav today to iron out differences

Kavita Chowdhury  |  New Delhi 

The Bill promises to give 5 kg of either rice, wheat or coarse cereals every month to each identified beneficiary at Rs 3 per kg, Rs 2 per kg and Rs 1 per kg for rice, wheat and coarse cereals, respectively

With four Congress governments slated to unveil the new food security scheme on Tuesday, the late Rajiv Gandhi’s birth anniversary, the UPA government was busy on Monday in discussing how to ensure passage of the Bill in this regard, preferably by Tuesday night.

Food Minister K V Thomas met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath and several other seniors. Thomas also met Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Mulayam Singh Yadav to iron out differences. The support of the SP is needed for the Bill to go through.

The Bill is being tipped to be the UPA’s “game-changer”.

The SP has already said it might not support the proposed law if the interest of farmers isn’t protected. Thomas’ meeting with Yadav, sources say, was to assure the SP chief that his concerns would be taken care of. Kamal Nath later told reporters, “The government is willing to bring amendments to the Food Security Bill to ensure wider support in Parliament.”

The government had all of last week attempted to get the Bill passed but although introduced in the Lok Sabha, it could not be taken up for discussion due to disruptions.

The Business Advisory Committee had last week itself slotted six hours for discussion on the bill when it was slated to be taken up. The Congress is banking on taking up the bill and having a marathon discussion, passage on Tuesday. The ordinance in this regard would expire in September.

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First Published: Tue, August 20 2013. 00:34 IST