Food Bill only in next session: Thomas

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SummaryThe draft Bill envisages differential legal entitlement of cheap food grains.

While the Law Ministry has already vetted the draft National Food Security Bill approved by the Empowered Group of Ministers (EgoM), headed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Food Minister K V Thomas said on Wednesday that his ministry will not be able to introduce the Bill in the current session of Parliament.

Thomas, however, expressed hope that the Bill may get introduced in the Winter Session of Parliament.

“We will be able to table the Food Security Bill only in the Winter Session of Parliament, as consultation with state governments and various ministries is still on,” he said.

He added that his ministry has sent the Bill to state governments for their comments.

The announcement is likely to further delay the implementation of the Congress’s poll promise of enacting a legislation for cheap food grains to the poor.

The draft Bill envisages differential legal entitlement of cheap food grains to about 70 per cent of population in the country. Given the fact that the Bill will be sent to a standing committee of Parliament for examination, the actual passage of the Bill may not happen before the Budget session next year.

This leaves the UPA-II government with only the last two years of its tenure to implement the proposed legislation.

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