According to the sources, the prime minister announced in the cabinet meeting Thursday morning that the ordinance should be deferred as many political parties had suggested a debate on the bill in parliament.
Manmohan Singh also asked Home Minister Sushilkumar Shinde and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath to hold a fresh round of consultations with the opposition parties to evolve a consensus on the food security bill, the sources said.
The general mood in the cabinet was in favour of a special session of parliament to pass the food bill, they said.
The National Food Security Bill aims to provide subsidised food grain to around 67 percent of India's 1.2 billion people. Around 800 million people would thus get the subsidised grain, at an initial cost of around Rs.1.3 lakh crore.