New Delhi: The National Advisory Council
(NAC) today debated universal entitlement of foodgrains under
the government`s ambitious Food Security Bill, with a special
focus on reaching out to the poorest of the poor.
The Council, headed by UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, also
asked the working group on National Food Security Bill to hold
consultations with all stakeholders and submit their
recommendations in the next meeting.
The bill seeks to provide legal right to poor to get rice
or wheat at Rs 3 per kg. A panel of Ministers had favoured
that every household would be entitled to 25 kg of foodgrains
every month, a suggestion that drew widespread criticism.
Critics of the bill have been demanding universal
entitlement by ensuring coverage of every adult under the
public distribution system. They contended that under the
scheme for BPL families, every household was entitled to 35 kg
M S Swaminathan and Harsh Mander made presentations
before the Council highlighting the need for moving for
universal entitlement under the National Food Security Act.
They also focussed on making efforts towards increasing
overall availability of foodgrains through stepping up
agriculture output and procuring more foodgrains.
The working group on the bill had held discussions with
senior officials of the Departments of Food and Public
Distribution, School Education and Planning Commission to
discuss in depth the scope of the proposed bill, the
entitlements to be provided, the target group and the
"The NAC members also met with the Right to Food Campaign
group to take input from civil society groups working on food
and nutrition security," a statement issued by the NAC said.
Besides, the meeting also deliberated on the much-delayed
Communal Violence Bill. A working group on the subject had
held consultations with senior officials of Home Ministry, of
Department of Legislative Affairs, and representatives of
anti-communal violence groups.
A sub-group on procedures also met to chart out ways and
means to be adopted for consultations with various
ministries as also for drawing up the agenda for the Council
The 14-member NAC, headed by Gandhi, was constituted on
June 1 and is expected to advise the government on various
social programmes like food security and rural development.
Gandhi also launched the website of the Council.