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Cabinet to discuss Lokpal, Food Security Bills on Sunday

December 17, 2011 22:51 IST

Two key legislations – Lokpal Bill and Food Security Bill -- are expected to be taken up by the Union Cabinet on Sunday after which they will be brought to Parliament next week.

The meeting was originally scheduled for Monday but advanced to Sunday evening, sources said. The Lokpal Bill envisages creation of an anti-graft ombudsman which could possibly cover the prime minister with some safeguards and the entire bureaucracy.

Considering the sensitivity of the Lokpal legislation, fine-tuning was being done by an informal group of ministers, including Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Home Minister P Chidambaram, Law Minister Salman Khurshid and MoS Personnel V Narayanasamy.

While the bill will see incorporation of recommendations made by the Parliamentary Standing Committee which examined it, the government had made it clear that it was open to other ideas that emanated at the all-party meeting convened by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday.

These include bringing the prime minister under the purview of the ombudsman with certain conditions and providing 50 per cent reservation to Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, OBCs, minorities and women.

The Cabinet will also take up Food Security Bill, which was deferred at last week's meeting because of differences. The Bill is being brought again after addressing the concerns of UPA allies and some Congress members.

The Food Security Bill aims to provide legal entitlement to subsidised foodgrain to 63.5 per cent of the country's population.  

Once the Cabinet approves the bill, the Food Ministry would finalise the draft Bill and try to introduce it in the winter session of Parliament, as promised.

After introduction, the Bill is expected to go to the Parliamentary Standing Committee and the UPA government would try to get it passed in the budget session, sources said.

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