The Lok Sabha on Monday started debating the Food Security Bill, which aims to provide subsidised foodgrain at prices much below the market rate to around 67 per cent - 800 million - of India's 1.2 billion people.
Moving the motion for consideration and passing of the bill, Food Minister KV Thomas said the welfare scheme will give nutritious food to the beneficiaries.
The bill could not be debated in the session so far as the BJP disrupted the house demanding Prime Minister Manmohan Singh clarify on the missing files related to coal block allocations.
The bill is expected to be a game-changer for the ruling Congress ahead of five assembly polls this year-end and the 2014 general elections.
The bill, part of the Congress manifesto for the 2009 polls, is expected to bring electoral benefits, just as the rural job plan, the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, is credited with the second term that the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) won in the 2009 polls.
The bill will cost the government around Rs 1.24 lakh crore.
The Food Security Bill was first introduced in Parliament in December 2011. It remained with a standing committee for a year, before it was taken to the Lok Sabha for consideration and passing in the budget session that ended May 8.
Later, the government brought an ordinance for the same which has been replaced by the bill being debated.