Patna: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, whose party JD(U) voted in support of UPA government`s Food Bill, Monday, said groundwork is on for launching the scheme in the state next year.
"Since a lot of ground work like identification of beneficiaries, increasing PDS shops and constituting teams for monitoring and redressal of grievances need to be done, it will not be possible to launch the Food legislation in this calender year," Kumar told reporters after his `Janata Ke Darbar me Mukya Mantri` programme.
However, the exercise is being carried on at maximum pace and it will be given a shape of law sometime in next year, he said.
Kumar said we want to make full-proof arrangements before launching the scheme. Which promises rice at Rs 3 per kg, wheat at Rs 2/kg and millet at Re 1 per kg.
He said the task for identification of beneficiaries, which would be 84 per cent of population in rural areas and 71 per cent in urban regions, has been given to a committee which is carrying a Socio Economic Caste Census (SECC) on the basis of which exclusion criteria will be decided.
The Committee headed by Principal Secretary of Food department Shishir Sinha is expected to finish the task in next 4-6 months, he said adding after this the census would be made public and put up for public opinion.
Kumar said number of PDS shops also needs to be increased for effective implementation of Food law for which works are going on. Then we have to constitute Food Security Committee to monitor the scheme and redress grievances of people.
Kumar said though all the three necessary steps are being carried on simultaneously, it is taking time because of natural calamity like flood in some parts of the state.
"In another 2-3 months we will be able to decide a probable time for launch of Food law in next calendar year," the chief minister said.
Food Security Act, a pet project of UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, is being considered as a game changer for Congress in 2014 elections.