PM expert panel for increasing the ambit of Food security law

An expert committee set up by the Prime Minister on Tuesday suggested that 50% of rural and 30% of urban households be entitled to subsidised foodgrain under the proposed Food Security Act, which is recommended by the NAC.

Updated: Dec 14, 2010, 22:33 PM IST

New Delhi: An expert committee set up by the
Prime Minister on Tuesday suggested that 50 per cent of rural and
30 per cent of urban households be entitled to subsidised
foodgrain under the proposed Food Security Act, which is more
than recommended by the National Advisory Council (NAC).

The committee, headed by PMEAC Chairman C Rangarajan has
also asked the Food Ministry to work out the foodgrain
requirement in case the ambit of the "priority" households as
proposed by NAC is increased to cover more people.
NAC has proposed a legal entitlement to "priority"
households -- covering 46 per cent in rural areas and 28 per
cent in urban areas.

The committee, set up to examine the recommendations of
the NAC -- headed by UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi -- on the
proposed Food Security Act, met today.

"Rangarajan suggested the `priority` category to cover 50
per cent of households in rural areas and 30 per cent in urban
areas. He has also asked the Food Ministry to calculate the
foodgrains requirement," a senior government official said.

NAC had suggested that this category should get monthly
entitlement of 35 kg of foodgrains at a subsidised price of
Re 1/kg for millets, Rs 2/kg for wheat and Rs 3/kg for rice.

The PM`s expert committee has representation from food,
agriculture, finance ministries and the Planning Commission.
Meanwhile, sources said the committee also discussed NAC
proposal to give legal entitlement for foodgrains to "general"
households and its subsidy implications.

The proposed Food Security Act was part of the Congress
party manifesto for the last Lok Sabha elections in 2009,
promising 25 kg of rice or wheat per month at Rs 3 per kg for
every poor family with legal sanction.

An empowered group of ministries (EGOM) had then cleared
the draft bill in March this year, on the same line as had
been proposed in the Congress manifesto. But the NAC wanted
its scope to expand to 35 kg per family.

PTI