Lok Sabha passes food security bill
The Lok Sabha on Monday night passed an ambitious National Food Security Bill which aims to provide heavily subsidised food to two-thirds of India’s 1.2 billion people.
The bill is a pet welfare legislation of Congress president Sonia Gandhi, who was taken ill during the eight hours-long debate and was rushed to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) here for observation.
In a speech heard in silence in the Lok Sabha, Gandhi, 66, declared: "The food bill is meant for the less fortunate sections of our society. It is a historic step to eradicate hunger.
"It is time to send out a big message that India can take the responsibility of ensuring food security for all its citizens," she added, to loud thumping of desks by ruling coalition members.
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 election.