In what it believes to be a surefooted approach to give effect to the populist food security Bill, long in the making, the UPA government has decided to take it to Parliament for passage either through a special session or post it for the monsoon session in August.
Food minister KV Thomas held consultations with defence minister AK Antony, before presenting a range of options before the ruling Congress’s ‘core committee’, the party’s top agenda-setting body, on Friday.
Thomas had also held discussions with law minister Kapil Sibal, as the UPA swung into action to rescue the Bill, which proposes to give two-thirds of Indians, or over 800 million people, a legal right to cheap food.
The Bill, one of the legislations proposed by the Congress in 2004, is a cornerstone of party leader Sonia Gandhi’s social welfare agenda, but it has run into a raft of hurdles, The recent Budget Session, for which the bill was posted, was swept away by the BJP’s protests. Nobel laureate Amartya Sen, during a press conference in Delhi on May 7, had questioned the “opportunity cost” of delaying the food Bill “in terms of number of children left malnourished or dead due to lack of access to food”.