Nobel laureate Amartya Sen on Monday pitched for the Food Security Bill to be passed in its present form, while opposing the reported move of the Government to bring in an Ordinance.

“The case for passing this Bill is overwhelming…I would prefer this Bill to not having a Bill at all,” Sen said at a press conference organised by the Right to Food Campaign to express concern over critical social legislations being held up due to the ongoing ruckus in Parliament over various scams.

Sen flayed the Opposition for stalling crucial legislations that “affect the poor” by raising issues that were “important but with no bearing on the food Bill.”

The present session of Parliament is scheduled to end on May 10 and has been stalled over the coal scam, rail jobs, the killing of Sarabjit Singh, among other issues.

“Those who are busting Parliamentary discussion should be held responsible for not solving the problem of hunger in the country, he said, and added “We need to ask, who will be held responsible for the deaths of millions of under-nourished children in the country?”

However, food rights activists, tried to distance themselves from Sen’s stance, and said the present Bill required major changes. They also favoured certain amendments moved by the Left parties, Biju Janata Dal, etc.

Economist Jean Dreze, who feels the Bill has serious shortcomings, said if need be this session of Parliament should be extended to ensure debate and passage of Bills that are critical for the poor.

 “As political parties blame each other for this stalemate, the Indian people — especially the poor — are paying the price,” he said.

The Congress-led UPA Government, too, is keen to get the National Food Security Bill passed in this session, as it sees the Bill as a vote-catcher in the 2014 general elections. 

The food Bill, a pet project of Congress President Sonia Gandhi, aims to provide legal entitlements over subsidised foodgrain to 75 per cent of the ‘eligible’ rural population and 50 per cent of the urban population. More than 55 amendments have been proposed in the Bill, which were introduced in the Lok Sabha last week.