Congress hopes to get food bill passed

The Congress expresses the hope that the food bill will get approved during the coming week.

Conscious that the window to secure passage of the food security bill is narrowing as the scheduled end of the monsoon session of parliament nears, the Congress on Sunday expressed the hope that the landmark measure will get approved during the coming week.

“We hope the food bill will be passed in parliament Monday or Tuesday,” Congress spokesperson P.C. Chacko told IANS. The ongoing monsoon session of parliament is scheduled to end Aug 30.

Though the lower house functioned Saturday, in lieu of a holiday last week, the food bill was not listed as opposition parties wanted it to be debated Monday.

“The food bill will be taken up Monday,” Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath had told reporters Friday.

If it gets passed in the lower house Monday, the bill can be taken up in the Rajya Sabha Tuesday.

Politics scuttled Congress managers’ plans to get it passed for the entire week Aug 19-24 as the opposition did not let the house run over the issues of missing coal-block allocation files, statehood for Telangana and high prices of food items.

The managers hope that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s statement in the Rajya Sabha Monday would end the controversy over missing coal-block files.

The speaker’s suspension Friday of 12 anti-Telangana members, who had been disrupting the lower house, has sought to address the issue of endorsement for a new state.

The Lok Sabha functioned Saturday for the first time since the session began Aug 5 and passed three bills – Governors (Emoluments, Allowances and Privileges) Amendment Bill, 2012, The Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order (Amendment) Bill, 2012 and Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Second Amendment) Bill, 2012.

This has given some hope to the managers but they are not sure if the opposition will not come up with another reason to disrupt the house and block the bill.

“All parties have agreed on the food bill. Their amendments have been incorporated in the bill. Why should they object now,” asked Chacko.

The government has planned to take up some other important bills during the coming week like Prohibition of Employment as Manual Scavengers and their Rehabilitation Bill, 2012, Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (Amendment) Bill, 2011, The Securities Laws (Amendment) Ordinance, 2013, the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Amendment) Ordinance, 2013, Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill, 2011 and the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority Bill, 2011.

Keeping in mind the long list of bills and just four days available to get them passed, the Congress has issued a whip to all its members to be present in parliament and support government business.

Parliament will not work on Wednesday due to Janmashtami holiday.

Though there have been some hints that the session may be extended for a week more, nothing has been decided till date, said government sources.

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