New Delhi: The government will provide extra 3.1 million tonne foodgrain to states under the food security programme at Above Poverty Line (APL) rate that will cost the exchequer nearly Rs 5,100 crore annually.
The extra grain will be provided at APL rates (Rs 8.30 per kg for rice and Rs 6.10 per kg for wheat) to 18 states/UTs including Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Delhi and J&K to protect their existing allocation under PDS.
The decision was taken by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) at its meeting here.
The Food Ministry had proposed to protect the average offtake under the Public Distribution System of last three years by supplying additional 3.1 million tonne at APL rates.
According to a source, the Finance Ministry was opposed to this proposal and wanted the additional allocation to be linked to the minimum support price. Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar also supported this view.
However, sources said, Defence Minister A K Antony, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kamal Nath, Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi supported Food Minister K V Thomas' proposal that the existing allocation should be protected at APL rates only.
The source said: "Under the food security ordinance 17 states/UTs are getting more than the existing allocation while 18 states/UTs are getting less than the existing PDS quota.
"To protect the allocation of these 18 states/UTs, CCEA decided to provide an additional 3.1 million tonnes at APL rates. This will have an additional food subsidy burden of Rs 5,094 crore."
The additional allocation will be under the food security programme and the government has already moved an amendment in the Food Bill, introduced on August 7 to replace the Ordinance, so as to ensure its passage.
The government's total annual food subsidy burden will now be Rs 1,27,733 crore.
Under the food security programme, the government will provide 5 kg rice and wheat per month per person at Rs 3 and Rs 2 per kg respectively to 67 percent of the country's population.
The families covered under AAY (Antodya Anna Yojna) would get 35 kg of foodgrains per month.
Yesterday, the food security programme was launched in three states -- Delhi, Haryana and Uttarakhand.
First Published: Thursday, August 22, 2013, 21:27