Cabinet meet begins, Lokpal not on agendaDecember 18th, 2011 - 9:56 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Dec 18 (IANS) A meeting of the union cabinet began Sunday evening to approve the National Food Security Bill that seeks to provide rice at Rs.3, wheat at Rs.2 and coarse grains at Re.1 per kg to over half of India’s 1.2 billion population, official sources said.
The meeting is being held at Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s 7, Race Course Road residence.
But the cabinet is unlikely to take up the Lokpal bill, which is still being fine tuned, the sources added.
Another special meeting of the cabinet is likely to be held Monday morning to approve the Lokpal bill.
Manmohan Singh, on his way back from Moscow Saturday, said the government was working day and night to finalise the Lokpal bill and will try to get it passed in parliament’s winter session that is scheduled to conclude Thursday.
Soon after the cabinet meeting, the prime minister is likely to hold a meeting with senior ministers including Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Home Minister P.Chidambaram, Law Minister Salman Khurshid and Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal to have a final look at the Lokpal bill, sources added.
The cabinet Dec 13 had deferred a decision on the food bill as the government thought it proper to bring the allies on board.
Sources said Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar has expressed concern that the food subsidy, currently at Rs.63,000 crore ($12 billion), may go up to Rs.1.2 lakh crore ($23 billion) to implement the right to food law.
The food bill is the pet project of the Sonia Gandhi-led National Advisory Council and was part of the Congress manifesto for the 2009
–Indo-Asian News Sevice
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