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Food security bill expected to be in Rajya Sabha today

Food security bill expected to be in Rajya Sabha today

The National Food Security Bill, passed by the Lok Sabha Aug 26, is expected to be taken up by the Rajya Sabha Monday.

The bill aims to provide heavily subsidised food to two-thirds of India's 1.2 billion people.

It would thus benefit about 800 million people who would get rice at Rs.3 per kg, wheat at Rs.2 per kg, and coarse grain at Re.1 per kg.

The bill, a part of the Congress election manifesto of 2009, is widely expected to be a game-changer for the ruling party as it prepares for the 2014 general elections.

It is a pet welfare legislation of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, who was taken ill during the eight-hour-long debate in the Lok Sabha and taken to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).

Opening the debate on behalf of the government in the Lok Sabha, Gandhi Aug 26 urged parliament to take a "historic step" by legislating a bill which seeks to ensure subsidised food to the millions of poor and needy.

Though the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) is in a minority in the upper house, sources said Congress managers were confident that the legislation would be passed as most parties support the welfare legislation.

The government has extended the monsoon session till September 6.

The Lok Sabha passed the bill rejecting all the 305 amendments moved by the opposition and adopting the 11 introduced by the government.

In the bill passed by the Lok Sabha, states have been allowed to identify the beneficiaries and the centre will bear the cost of transporting the grain.

It was first introduced in parliament in December 2011. It remained with a standing committee of parliament for a year.

Later, the government brought out an ordinance for the same which has been replaced by the bill in parliament now.

Once passed by both the houses, it would go to the president for his assent before it becomes a law.

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