New Delhi: Food Minister K V Thomas on Wednesday asked the government departments to send their comments on the draft food security bill by December 1, to enable the introduction of the proposed law in the ongoing session of Parliament.
"The food security bill is under circulation through various departments. Today also I discussed with the Prime Minister. We have requested various departments to give their comments by December 1 so that we feel that in another 10 days all other formalities will be brought before the Cabinet," he told reporters here.
Asked about the possibility of the bill being tabled in the winter session, he said the government is making efforts to do so.
"Our idea is to introduce the bill in this session. The Finance Ministry during the last session had said we will try to introduce the bill during winter session. We are trying our best to introduce the bill in this session," he said.
Last week, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who heads the Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) on Food, had approved key changes in the proposed National Food Security Bill. After that, a cabinet note was circulated among various ministries.
The two major changes include: keeping an option open to supply more than 3 kg of subsidised foodgrains to general households and widening its reach to include lactating women, destitute, aged people and providing nutritious food to child.
The cash-handout of Rs 1,000 per month for six months to lactating women is proposed to be extended to the entire country, instead of 52 districts.
The proposed law, which the ruling Congress Party had promised in its election manifesto, seeks to provide a legal entitlement of subsidised foodgrains to 75 percent of the country's rural population and 50 percent of urban India.
The government proposes to supply 7 kg of wheat/rice grains per month per person falling under priority households at Rs 2 and Rs 3 per kg, respectively. The general households are to get a minimum 3 kg of rice and wheat per person per month at a price not exceeding 50 percent of the support price.
The annual food subsidy bill is likely to cross Rs 1,00,000 crore from about Rs 80,000 crore estimated for this fiscal.
First Published: Wednesday, November 23, 2011, 20:37