Jaipur, 16 July (ANI): Finance Minister P. Chidambaram said Tuesday that the Food Security Ordinance should be seen as the most important step taken by the government and added that he felt sorry for those who were opposed to the ambitious step.
"The national Food Security Ordinance was promulgated a few days ago. It's a promise made by the UPA before we assumed office, (and) it's an important-in fact the most important-legislative measure of UPA-2. I know that there are people, who mock at the ordinance, I am sorry for them. Nothing is more important than food security," he said.
The 22 billion dollar welfare scheme is set to give cheap food to millions of people, a centerpiece of the ruling Congress Party's plan to win a third term in elections, due in May 2014.
Under the plan, the government would sell subsidised wheat and rice to 67 percent of its 1.2 billion people.
Chidambaram added that he was hopeful that the ordinance becomes a bill, as it directly as well as indirectly addresses hunger and malnutrition.
"The Food Security Ordinance which I hope becomes a bill is intended to deal with both hunger and malnutrition. There are direct benefits, there are huge indirect benefits," he said.
The decision not to wait until parliament reopens, shows the government is in a rush to implement the latest scheme.
The government now needs to get the bill approved by parliament within six weeks of its resumption. The Monsoon session of parliament usually begins in late July.(ANI)