Let states decide
beneficiaries: House panel on food Bill
The Indian Express,
January 17, 2012
panel reviewing the National Food Security Bill, 2011, is
understood have recommended that states should be allowed to
prescribe guidelines for identification of 'priority' and
'general' households for subsidised foodgrains.
The panel chaired by
Lok Sabha MP Vilas Muttemwar has also asked the government to
devise a clearly defined criteria in consultation with the
states to identify those outside the ambit of the scheme,
seeking to expand the scope of existing public distribution
Sources told FE that
to deal with the rising food subsidy bill, the committee is
likely to suggest reducing foodgrain entitlements under the
proposed legislation from 7 kg per person a month to 5 kg per
person a month.
While the earlier
version of the Bill had envisaged grains to be supplied at R3 a
kg for rice and wheat at R 2 a kg for BPL households and 50% of
minimum support price (MSP) for Above Poverty Line (APL)
families, the panel's suggestion for scrapping of categories
would result in a single uniform BPL price for people covered
under the food law.
The panel is
reportedly asked for the inclusion of pulses, oils and millets
in addition to grains under PDS, which is expected deal with the
problems of 'malnutrition'.
The Bill, which was
tabled in Parliament in December 2011 and was subsequently
referred to the standing committee, had proposed 7 kg per person
a month for priority (BPL) households and 3 kg per person a
month for general households.
While the government
had budgeted R74, 551 crore as food subsidy during 2012-13, the
actual subsidy is all set to cross R1 lakh crore because of huge
procurement drive by the Food Corporation of India (FCI).
introduction of the food Bill, the subsidy could cross R1.5 lakh
The food Bill was
introduced in the Lok Sabha by food minister KV Thomas in
December 2011, which was referred to the Parliamentary Standing
Committee chaired by Muttemwar for approval.
panel was reconstituted in October last year as earlier panel?s
term got lapsed.
After the panel
report is submitted to the Lok Sabha speaker, the food ministry
will examine the proposed legislation before finalizing a draft
Bill for the cabinet approval.?We propose to introduce the Bill
in the forthcoming Budget season of Parliament,? Thomas said.
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