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India considers parliament session on food bill
June 14, 2013, 9:09 am


More than 800 million people live below the poverty line in India [AP]

The Indian government is discussing the possibility of a special session of parliament in order to pass a landmark bill to ensure subsidised food for a large section of the population, sources said on Friday.

More than 800 million people or two-thirds of the country’s 1.2 billion strong population live below the poverty line in India.

“The Food Security Bill, once passed, will give the poor a legal right to food. The government intends to make it a law by passing the bill during the special session of Parliament, after it recently shelved plans to pass it through as an ordinance,” the sources said.

According to the bill, every poor household in India will get a kilogram of rice at three Indian rupees (six US cents), wheat at two Indian rupees (four US cents) and millet at one Indian rupee (two US cents).

Moreover, every poor household will be entitled to at least five kg of grain a month.

The scheme was an election promise by the ruling Congress party in 2009 and is likely to cost the country a staggering 1.3 trillion rupees ($23.9 billion) every year.

Both Houses of Parliament – the Rajya Sabha (Upper House) and the Lok Sabha (Lower House) – will have to pass the bill by a two-third majority to make it a law.

However, according to experts it is unclear if opposition parties will provide the support that the government needs.

Source: Agencies

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