Committed to food security bill: minister

October 12th, 2011 - 7:34 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Oct 12 (IANS) The government is committed to enacting the National Food Security Act and ensuring food security for around 75 percent people as a rights based approach, Minister of Food and Public Distribution K.V. Thomas said Wednesday.

Addressing a seminar organised by the Indian Rice Research Institute (IRRI), the minister said the proposed legislation would be a paradigm shift in approach towards food security - from welfare based to rights based - involving legal obligation on the government to deliver food entitlements.

“It will be a comprehensive effort, adopting a lifecycle approach, in providing food and nutritional security to people, with special emphasis on vulnerable groups,” said Thomas.

According to the minister, the draft bill proposes to provide right to receive food grains at subsidised prices under the targeted Public Distribution System by people belonging to priority households and general households.

Each person in priority households would be entitled to seven kilograms of foodgrains per month at a price not exceeding Rs.3, 2 or 1 per kg for rice/wheat/coarse grains; also, three kilograms per person per month at a price not exceeding 50 percent of the minimum support price for wheat and coarse grains and derived minimum support price for rice in general households.

Thomas said the draft bill also contains provisions for nutritional support to pregnant women, lactating mothers and children, entitlements of special groups such as destitute persons, homeless and such other needy persons, emergency and disaster affected persons and persons living in starvation.

Thomas said implementation of the legislation would place a major demand on agricultural production.

It would involve enhanced production of food grains, higher procurement, creation of additional storage facilities, rail-road infrastructure for movement of foodgrains and a streamlined distribution network, he said.

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