House panel report likely next week
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The Parliamentary Standing Committee examining the National Food Security Bill Friday completed its discussion although some of the opposition members suggested modifications in a few suggestions the panel is expected to make. Panel Chairman Vilas Muttemwar, sources said, asked the members to submit their views in writing in the next few days and the panel is expected to submit the report next week.
Sources said the draft report — despite disagreements — has been adopted. Some members, especially from the opposition including CPM, were unhappy with some formulations. They demanded that the panel should recommend that a special consideration be made for extremely vulnerable sections of society in terms of price and quantity of food grains to be supplied.
The panel's endorsement of the direct cash transfer scheme was learnt to be another bone of contention. Sources said Muttemwar agreed to modify the recommendation regarding direct cash transfer to reflect their concerns. The panel, sources said, is likely to suggest introduction of direct cash transfer in lieu of food was not practical now because of logistical and infrastructural problems.
There was also a demand that the committee should not recommend reduction in quantity of food grains guaranteed under the law. Sources said the panel was set to propose bringing down the entitlements from 7 kg per person per month which is proposed in the Bill to 5 kg per person. Sources, however, said this formulation is unlikely to the changed although the concerns would be reflected.
Remark against Guv: Subrata out as spokesperson
In damage control mode, the Mamata Banerjee government on Friday dropped Subrata Mukherjee, one of the most experienced Cabinet ministers, from its list of spokespersons.
The move comes a day after Mukherjee, considered close to Mamata, launched a scathing attack on Governor M K Narayanan, daring him to sack the state government and saying that the "government was showing him the "yellow card" for commenting on the state's law and order situation.