Govt tables Food Bill in House

The National Food Security Bill promised by the Congress in its 2009 General Elections manifesto to provide legal foodgrain entitlement to over 63 per cent of population was introduced by Food Minister K V Thomas today. The Bill is likely to be referred to the Standing Committee of Parliament for further scrutiny.

The Bill proposes to provide legal entitlement of foodgrains to 75 per cent of rural population and up to 50 per cent of urban population. According to the provisions of the Bill, the beneficiary households will be broadly divided into 'priority' and 'general' categories wherein the priority group will comprise at least 46 per cent of rural population and 28 per cent of the urban population.

The Bill would make the members of the priority group legally eligible for seven kg of foodgrain per person at highly subsidised rates of Rs 3, 2 and 1 per kg for rice, wheat and coarse grains, respectively.

The general group population will be eligible for at least three kg of foodgrains at half the minimum support price.

Given that the Bill would rely primarily on the Public Distribution System for its implementation, the Bill has sought to reform the PDS by linking the entitlements to general group with the reforms in the PDS.

Food Bill election stunt: Mayawati

UP CM Mayawati on Thursday said the Food Security Bill would lead to an additional burden on the state governments. She said the proposed Bill will not benefit the poor and added the Congress's attempt to get the Bill passed without making arrangements of finances and foodgrains was nothing but an "election stunt".

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