Cabinet clears food bill (Lead)December 18th, 2011 - 11:08 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Dec 18 (IANS) The union cabinet Sunday approved the draft National Food Security Bill, which seeks to provide subsidised foodgrains to over half of India’s 1.2 billion population.
The bill is likely to be presented to parliament in the next few days and would be referred to standing committee, sources said .
Another special meeting of the cabinet is likely to be held Monday morning to approve the Lokpal bill, which is still being fine tuned, the sources added.
The food security bill promises 75 percent of rural population and 50 percent of urban households, the right to 7 kg foodgrains per person, at Rs.3 per kg for rice, Rs.2 per kg for wheat and Rs.1 per kg for coarse grains to the priority beneficiaries.
The general category will be provided at least three kilograms of foodgrains per person per month at half the minimum selling price.
It will also provide rations or cooked meals to children under 14 years of age, destitutes including women and persons on the margins of society.
The bill is the pet project of the Sonia Gandhi-led National Advisory Council and was part of the Congress manifesto for the 2009 general election.
The cabinet, which had deferred a decision on the bill Dec 13, cleared it after Gandhi’s push.
Food ministry sources said the bill provides for cost-sharing to pacify the states, which will implement the law. The states have also objected over the authority to decide on the criteria to identify the beneficiaries.
A three-tier grievance redressal mechanism at district, state and national level is also part of the legislation.
Sources said Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar had expressed concern that food subsidy, currently at Rs.63,000 crore ($12 billion), may go up to Rs.1.2 lakh crore ($23 billion) if the bill is implemented.
Rising fertiliser prices and the minimum support price (MSP) of the grains was another concern. Sources said managing the fianances would not be a problem but procurement would have to be improved.
It is estimated that against the current procurement levels of 54 millions tonnes, the requirement may go up to 62 million tonnes. Government foodgrain stocks in August 2011 were 61.27 million tonnes.
- Will Sonia Gandhi's food bill pass muster? - Dec 18, 2011
- Will Sonia Gandhi's Food Bill past muster? (Lead) - Dec 18, 2011
- Cabinet clears pathbreaking food bill (Roundup) - Dec 19, 2011
- Government reviews food security bill - Feb 29, 2012
- Main provisions of food bill (To go with 'Will food bill force government to eat humble pie') - Dec 18, 2011
- Landmark food security bill tabled in parliament (Lead) - Dec 22, 2011
- Food security bill to be tabled in parliament Thursday - Dec 21, 2011
- Cabinet nod to food bill likely Tuesday - Dec 12, 2011
- Food security bill tabled in parliament - Dec 22, 2011
- Cabinet defers food bill as discussions inconclusive (Second Lead) - Dec 13, 2011
- Centre, states to discuss food bill (Lead) - Feb 06, 2012
- Cabinet to take up food bill - Dec 18, 2011
- Winter session extended; Lokpal, food bills to be moved Thursday (Second Lead) - Dec 21, 2011
- Rethink food security bill: Pawar - Oct 19, 2011
- NAC okays Food Security Bill, to be sent to PM - Jun 22, 2011
Tags: agriculture minister, coarse grains, congress manifesto, food bill, food ministry, food subsidy, foodgrains, ministry sources, national advisory council, national food security, pet project, rations, rs 1, rs 2, security bill, sharad pawar, sonia gandhi, standing committee, union cabinet, urban households