India’s Lower House Of Parliament Passes Food Security Bill

The Lok Sabha, India’s lower house of parliament, “has passed a flagship $22 billion program to provide subsidized food to the poor,” Al Jazeera reports, noting the bill “will entitle 67 percent of Indians to highly subsidized food” (8/26). “Congress President Sonia Gandhi [on Monday] asked all political parties to set aside differences and support the Food Security Bill so that a ‘big message’ could be sent out about India’s capabilities,” the Financial Express writes (8/26). In her speech opening discussion, Ghandi “had rejected questions over whether the country had resources to implement the landmark measure,” according to FirstPost (8/27). “Parties had sought over 300 amendments to the bill; some were withdrawn, others were voted on one by one before the bill was passed by voice vote,” NDTV notes (Asrar, 8/27). “The vote broke a long stalemate in Parliament, potentially clearing the way for several reforms aimed at spurring the flagging economy which the government hopes to pass in an extended session that ends on September 6,” Reuters adds (Kotoky/Bhardwaj, 8/26). The Wall Street Journal provides a timeline of the bill’s advance (8/26).