The government on Wednesday reached out to opposition Janata Dal-United as continued disruptions in Parliament blocked passage of the United Progressive Alliance's 'game changer' Food Security Bill that aims to provide foodgrains at cheap rates to 67 per cent of the population.
Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath on Wednesday had a telephonic conversation with JD-U President Sharad Yadav during which he discussed ways to ensure smooth functioning of the two houses.
Ever since the monsoon session began on August 5, disruptions have been witnessed in both Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha on a number of issues including Telangana, Line of Control firing and missing coal block allocation files.
The government has already introduced the Food Security Bill in Lok Sabha to replace the ordinance on it, issued in July. However, the bill has not be taken up for consideration so far.
Unfazed by non-passage of the bill in Parliament, four Congress-ruled states Delhi, Haryana, Uttarakhand and Arunachal Pradesh launched the food security scheme on Tuesday, with party President Sonia Gandhi calling the measure unparallelled in the world. Another Congress-ruled state, Assam has also launched a statewide promotional campaign on the food security scheme.
The bill, which has been the pet project of Sonia Gandhi who is also UPA Chairperson, is the biggest such scheme in the world with the government expected to spend an estimated Rs 125,000 crore annually on supply of about 62 million tonnes of rice, wheat and coarse cereals to 67 per cent of population---around 82 crore beneficiaries.