The government plans to convene a special session of Parliament for passage of the Food Security Bill as a divided Cabinet on Thursday shunned the idea of promulgating an Ordinance to implement the watershed legislation.
A meeting of the Cabinet could not arrive at a decision on bringing an Ordinance to implement the UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi's pet programme and instead decided to court Opposition parties for passage of the bill in a special Parliament session.
Home minister and Leader of the Lok Sabha Sushil Kumar Shinde, parliamentary affairs minister Kamal Nath and food minister K V Thomas will meet opposition leaders to elicit their support for passage of the key legislation, Finance Minister P Chidambaram said after the Cabinet meeting.
"The Food Security Bill is ready. We would like to pass it as a bill but Ordinance version of bill is also ready. We decided today that we would like to make one more effort to ask the Opposition parties whether they will cooperate in passing the bill in a special session of Parliament," he said.
Thomas said the Ordinance route has not been completely shelved and remains an option available to the government.
The Food Security Bill was tabled in the Budget session of Parliament but could not be taken up for discussion due to pandemonium in the Lok Sabha over various scams.
The Bill aims to give legal rights to 67% of the population over a uniform quantity of 5 kg foodgrains at a fixed price of Rs 1-3 per kg through ration shops.