New Delhi: To ensure food security law is rolled out smoothly in most states before the next General Elections, the Centre has called a meeting of state food ministers and secretaries later this month.
This is the first meeting called by the Union Food Ministry after the bill was cleared by Parliament with 300-odd amendments. It is expected to get Presidential assent soon to become a historic law.
"The meeting is scheduled for September 23-24. We are calling both state food ministers and secretaries to discuss about implementation of the food law," Union Food Minister KV Thomas told a news agency.
The meeting would deliberate on modernising and strengthening public distribution system (PDS) so as to reduce leakage because the success of the food security programme depends on an effective PDS, he said.
The meeting will also discuss and impress upon state governments to build intermediate godowns to store PDS grains for at least four months, he added.
Other issues related to identification of beneficiaries, protecting states` existing coverage and giving freedom to states to run their own schemes will also be deliberated.
The landmark Food Security Bill seeks to provide highly subsidised foodgrains to the country`s two-third population as a right. The bill will guarantee 5 kg of rice, wheat and coarse cereals per month per person at Rs 3, 2, 1 a kg respectively.
At Rs 1,30,000 crore government support, the food security programme will be the largest in the world. It would require 62 million tonnes of foodgrains.
At present, Delhi, Uttarakhand and Haryana have announced implementation of this bill. Other states are expected to soon follow suit.