The bill aims to provide heavily subsidized food to two-thirds of India's 1.2 billion people. It would thus benefit about 800 million people who would get rice at Rs 3 per kg, wheat at Rs 2 per kg and coarse grain at Re 1 per kg.

FOOD SECURITY BILL

The bill, a part of the Congress election manifesto of 2009, is widely expected to be a game changer for the ruling party ahead of 2014 general elections. Opening the debate on behalf of the government in the Lok Sabha, Congress president Sonia Gandhi on August 26 urged the Parliament to take a "historic step" by legislating a bill which seeks to ensure subsidized food to the millions of poor and needy.

Though the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA) is in a minority in the Upper House, sources said Congress managers were confident that the legislation would be passed as most parties support the welfare legislation.

The government has extended the Monsoon Session till September 6. The Lok Sabha passed the bill rejecting all the 305 amendments moved by the Opposition and adopting the 11 introduced by the government.

(Agencies)

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