NEW DELHI: An Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) Monday approved the draft Food Security Bill, which will provide highly subsidised wheat and rice to the poor as a matter of legal right.
The ministers’ panel headed by the Finance Minister, Mr Pranab Mukherjee cleared the flagship proposal of the UPA government which will provide foodgrains at a cheap rate to 75 per cent of the rural population and 50 per cent of those living in cities. Thus 68 per cent of the country’s total population will have the food security.
The states which have a crucial role in implementation of the programme will also be taken on board. The Bill after being vetted by the Law Ministry would be before the chief ministers and after that will go to the Parliament.
“Our intention is to place it before the Parliament in the monsoon session,” a source said after the EGoM meeting.
Under the Bill which will give legal right to the beneficiaries for food, a quantity of 7 kg per month per person will be given to the ‘priority sector’ (Below Poverty Line). It will be provided at Rs 3 per kg for rice and Rs 2 per kg for wheat.
For the general category (Above Poverty Line) the food quantity will be 3-4 kg per person. The rate will be half of the minimum support price which the government pays to farmers. The Food Security Bill, requiring 51 million tonnes of foodgrains will involve an additional subsidy outgo of Rs 13,000 crore, taking the total food subsidy to Rs 95,000 crore.