Food security bill: Parliament special session likely

New Delhi, June 13 (IANS) The government Thursday said it will make one more effort to get the food security bill passed in a special session of parliament instead of issuing an ordinance.

"We would like to pass it as a bill but the ordinance version is also ready. We will make one more effort to ask the opposition parties whether they will cooperate in passing the bill in a special session (of parliament)," Finance Minister P. Chidambaram told reporters after a meeting of the union cabinet here.

He said: "Leader of the house (in the Lok Sabha), minister for parliamentary affairs and the minister for food will approach them (opposition) and request them to support the bill. The bill will be passed in a special session of parliament based upon the response of the main opposition party."

Questioned on the proposed ordinance, Chidambaram said: "It is our intention to get it passed in a special session of parliament and make one more effort...."

"We will talk to the opposition parties. If they agree to a special session, it can be called pretty early. The bill is ready... we will like the opposition support," the finance minister said.

Food Minister K.V. Thomas earlier said the government will take the ordinance route to bring in the National Food Security Bill.

The bill aims to provide subsidised food grain to around 67 percent of India's 1.2 billion people. Around 800 million people would thus get the subsidised grain, at an initial cost of around Rs.1.3 lakh crore.

It is seen as a big-ticket legislation of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government, and could prove to be a game-changer ahead of the 2014 general elections.

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