Advance monsoon session of parliament to pass food security bill: BJP

New Delhi, June 3 (ANI): The Bharatiya Janata Party on Monday said the monsoon session of Parliament should be preponed or advanced to pass both the food security bill and the land acquisition bill.

"Instead of calling a special session, the monsoon session should be preponed or advanced. We are open to a debate," said BJP spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi.

"We are in favour of having detailed discussions on the food security and land acquisition bills, and the opposition inputs are important," she added.

Echoing similar sentiments, BJP spokesperson Captain Abhimanyu accused the UPA Government of not being serious about passing the food security bill.

"BJP believes UPA Government has never been serious on the food security bill. It has been four years now; the poor are dying of hunger. Now, when the elections are near, they want to bring it.

We will give our good suggestions in parliament," he added.

Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, however, avoided commenting on the Food Security Bill, as he will be participating in a UPA coordination committee meeting related to the subject later this evening.

Janata Dal-United president Sharad Yadav said the UPA Government appeared to have ulterior motives in discussing the possibility of calling for or holding a special session of parliament to discuss and debate the food security bill and the land acquisition bill.

"They (UPA) want to stay in power. We will look into the food security bill. It is the government's choice to call a monsoon session early, they can. The land acquisition bill and the food security bill should be tabled on the first day of the monsoon session of parliament. This issue should be resolved," said Yadav.

BJP leader Rajiv Pratap Rudy said that the food security bill should be converted into law, and not be pushed through by the government in the form of an ordinance.

"The bill caters need of poor. Bill should not be in the form of an ordinance. The monsoon session can be preponed to discuss the bill," Rudy said.

Communist Party of India-Marxist leader Brinda Karat questioned the government's urgency now in wanting to pass the food security and land acquisition bills, saying both bills have been pending for passage for the past four years.

Specifically talking about the food security bill, Karat said: " They (the government) had no worries for the past four years. This bill should be discussed in the monsoon session. This bill should be taken as the first priority in the monsoon session of parliament. BPL (Below Poverty Line) families are getting 35 kgs of grains at present. After this bill is passed, BPL families will be getting only 25 kgs. They didn't take care of the six crore tonne of grains that has been rotting."

"Their food security bill has many loopholes. They are excluding 50 percent of the urban area people without any basis. Many states are getting rice for Rs.1, but this bill is offering rice for Rs.3. This bill will not be able to fulfill the demands I really don't know what Congress wants to do," Karat added.

BJP leader Sushma Swaraj on Sunday said the monsoon session of parliament can be held ahead of schedule to pass the food security bill.

"There are media reports that government is considering the option of an ordinance or to convene a special session of parliament. The ordinance route for such an important legislation is not desirable. We are not opposed to a special session of Parliament," Swaraj tweeted.

However, she said, "the better option will be to prepone the monsoon session which is anyway due in July".

The UPA Coordination Committee will meet here today to finalise the food security bill. The decision was taken on Saturday at the Congress Core Group meeting at the Prime Minister's 7 RCR official residence.

Meanwhile, UPA Government has an option to get the food security bill passed either in a special session of the parliament, or to implement through an ordinance or executive order.

The National Food Security Bill, 2011, considered to be the world"s largest experiment in ensuring food security to poor, has been a key project of Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

It hopes to meet the food needs of 75 percent of rural households and 50 percent of urban households. The Bill classifies all entitled households as "general" and "priority".

At least 46 percent of rural households and 28 percent of urban households would be designated as "priority".

Every person belonging to a "priority household" will be provided with seven kilograms of grain per month, comprising rice, wheat and coarse grain. Rice will be provided at Rs.3, wheat at Rs.2 and coarse grain at Rs.1 per kilogram.

Others belonging to the "general category" would be entitled to not less than three kilogram of grain per month at a rate not exceeding 50 percent of the minimum support price. (ANI)


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