"We expect that the Bill could be discussed and passed in the next session and move forward on the subject", Thomas said. (Agencies)
Political parties have agreed to discuss the Bill in the next session, Thomas added. The states would get one year time to implement the scheme after the Bill was passed in the parliament, he said.
Terming the Bill as a major milestone of UPA Government, Thomas said the food subsidy of the Centre would become about Rs.1.45 lakh crore. The Bill envisages to cover 75 percent of rural population and 50 percent of urban, which would be treated as 'priority section'.
Justifying the government decision to bring an ordinance to implement the Bill last month, Thomas said contents of the legislation were discussed at different levels several times.
Answering a question, he said success of the scheme depended on strengthening the Public Distribution system in the country. The Centre has also formulated a nine-point programme to improve the operation of PDS in the country. Computerization, social audit mechanism at gram panchayat level and strengthening the storage facilities in the country were some of the items in the programme.
Stating that the food grain storage facility in the country have improved a lot in the recent years, Thomas said now the country has a capacity to store about 85 million tonnes of food grains.
"We expect that the Bill could be discussed and passed in the next session and move forward on the subject", Thomas said.