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Food Bill to be presented in Parliament today

Last Updated: Friday, March 22, 2013 - 09:49

Zeebiz Bureau

New Delhi: The landmark Food Security Bill which was passed by the Cabinet earlier this week on Tuesday will be presented in the Parliament Friday with a hope that the revised bill be passed before the current session ends on May 10.

Under the revised Food Security Bill which was approved by the Cabinet on Tuesday, 67 percent of India’s population will have the right to get a monthly quota of 5 kg of foodgrains at highly subsidised rates of Rs 1-3 per kg.

This means that one person will be guaranteed 5 kg of foodgrains per month under the Bill while the poorest of the poor will continue to get 35 kg per month.

Food Minister KV Thomas told reporters on Tuesday that the Cabinet would try to bring
“amendments to the Food Bill in Parliament before Friday".

Over 55-56 amendments to the bill have been made in line with the suggestions made by the Parliamentary Standing Committee, which submitted its report in January this year.

Rice will be sold through ration shops at Rs 3 per kg, wheat at Rs 2 and millets at Re 1 in the first three years of the implementation of the Act. This is much lower than the market price of over Rs 20/kg for rice and Rs 16/kg for wheat.

The beneficiaries would be decided by state governments, while the criteria to exclude 33 percent of population would be provided by the Planning Commission, Thomas had said.

About 62 million tonnes of foodgrains would be required to implement the bill, while the food subsidy is estimated at Rs 1,24,747 crore at 2013-14 costs, which is Rs 23,800 crore higher than the existing level.

Instead of dividing beneficiaries into two categories -- priority and general households -- with different entitlement and price, the revised bill proposes only one category of beneficiary with uniform entitlement of 5 kg per person per month at uniform price of Rs 1-3/kg for all beneficiaries.

In the original bill, introduced in the Lok Sabha in December 2011, the Centre had proposed 7 kg of rice or wheat or millet a month for priority category at Rs 3, Rs 2 and Re 1 per kg respectively, while at least 3 kg per person per month for general households at 50 percent of support price.

With PTI Inputs

First Published: Friday, March 22, 2013 - 09:49
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