Political parties welcome deferment of ordinance on food security

New Delhi, June 13 (IANS) Political parties, including members of the ruling coalition as well as the opposition, Thursday welcomed the government's decision to defer an ordinance on the food security bill, saying it should be passed in the monsoon session of parliament.

"It is a very serious issue as all political parties have their own reservations. We want to discuss it in parliament. At least a good sense has prevailed as they are going to have a special session. But they could have brought forward the monsoon session as there other important bills to be discussed," said Samajwadi Party spokesman Kamal Farooqui.

Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) politburo member Sitaram Yechuri said: "We want a serious discussion on this issue as we want that the proposed 67 percent to be covered under the bill should go up to 90 percent."

Nationalist Congress Party leader Nawab Malik said his party supported the bill but wanted it to be discussed on the floor of parliament.

"Such ordinance should be discussed on the floor of the house properly and then it can be passed. The government has changed its mind and it is good for the democracy that this kind of step is being taken by the UPA," Malik said, adding NCP chief Sharad Pawar wanted the bill to be discussed in parliament.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), meanwhile, said it favoured introduction of the food security bill in the upcoming monsoon session with "some amendments".

"We want that the food security bill is passed in the upcoming monsoon session of parliament with some amendments," BJP president Rajnath Singh told reporters here.

The government 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.

The landmark 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.