New Delhi: The Empowered Group of Ministers
(eGoM) on Thursday cleared the draft Food Security Bill that seeks
to give legal right to the poor to get 25 kgs of foodgrain at
Rs 3 per kg.
The draft Food Security Bill will "hopefully" go to the
Cabinet next week, Food and Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar
told reporters after the eGoM meeting.
The group headed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee,
also decided to recommend to the Cabinet for increase in the
quantity of foodgrain for the 11.5 crore families above
poverty line through ration shops.
"Two items which will be taken to Cabinet are enhancing
APL quota and the draft Food Security Bill," he said.
The Congress had promised in its election manifesto that
every BPL family would get, by law, 25 kg of rice or wheat per
month at Rs 3 a kg.
Once the Cabinet approves the Bill, it will be put in the
public domain for feedback before it goes to Parliament.
The panel also extended duty-free import of pulses and
the ban on their exports till March 2011, Pawar said.
PSUs such as MMTC and STC importing pulses would continue
to get 15 per cent subsidy to cover the gap between the landed
and selling price.
The government had earlier allowed duty-free import of
pulses till March 2010 to fight food inflation which is ruling
at well over 16 per cent.
Meanwhile, the Commerce Ministry withdrew its proposal to
hike the minimum export price (MEP) of basmati rice.