The Sonia Gandhi-headed National Advisory Council has decided to stick to its guns on the National Food Security Bill and not ''react'' to the proposals set forth by the Rangarajan panel constituted by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Last week, the prime minister's expert group in its report had turned down some key recommendations of the council, citing economic and production constraints.
Now, the NAC has taken the battle into the public domain. After meeting on Friday with Gandhi in the chair, the NAC has put up a detailed framework note on its website that is essentially a replica of its draft on the food security bill. Reports said another note would be drafted shortly ''to respond to the debate'' and this too would be placed on the NAC website for comments.
The Rangarajan committee's comments were acknowledged, but not discussed in any detail on the web posting. Note was taken of the fact that the panel had only ''questioned the feasibility, not the desirability'' of the NAC recommendations.
The procedural route the NAC has pencilled for itself implies that the food security bill might be in for the long haul and not see the light of day in the budget session that will begin on 21 February.
Asked if the panel had in effect rejected the Rangarajan report, a member who is generally appreciative of the government's argument of budgetary limitations, told The Hindu, ''Please don't ask me about it. For the record, the NAC has not formally taken cognisance of it. Informally, of course, each of us had read it carefully.''