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Rediff.com  » News » Cabinet clears Food Security Bill

Cabinet clears Food Security Bill

March 19, 2013 18:32 IST

The government on Tuesday approved the revised Food Security Bill to provide for uniform 5 kg of foodgrains per month per person at a highly subsidised price of Rs 1 to 3 per kg to two-thirds of the country's population.

However, about 2.43 crore poorest of the poor families covered under the Antyodaya Anna Yojana scheme under the Public Distribution System would get legal entitlement to 35 kg of foodgrain per family per month.

"The revised Food Bill has been cleared. We will try to bring the amendments to the Food Bill in Parliament before Friday," Food Minister K V Thomas told reporters in New Delhi after the Cabinet meeting.

The extra burden on the food subsidy would be about Rs 20,000 crore from the current level, while foodgrains requirement is expected to be 61.23 million tonnes, he added.

"Uniform prices of Rs 3, 2 and 1 per kg for rice, wheat and coarse grains, respectively, will be applicable to all eligible beneficiaries. The prices would be revised after three years from the implementation of the Act," he said.

In the original bill, introduced in the Lok Sabha in December 2011, beneficiaries were divided into priority and general households.

Priority households were entitled to 7 kg of rice, wheat and coarse grains per person per month at Rs 3, Rs 2 and Re 1 per kg respectively and at least 3 kg for 'general' households at 50 per cent of the support price. 

The amendments to the bill have been done in line with the Parliamentary Standing Committee report that suggested doing away with dividing beneficiaries into two categories. The panel had advocated uniform monthly entitlement of 5 kg grain per person at uniform price.

Earlier, sources had said that more than 55 amendments have been proposed to the Bill.

Under the current public distribution system, below poverty line and AAY families get 35 kg of foodgrains per month, while the allocations for above poverty line families range between 15kg to 35kg.

Currently, rice is supplied to AAY families at Rs 3 per kg, BPL families at Rs 5.65 per kg and APL families at Rs 8.30 per kg. Wheat is sold at Rs 2 per kg to AAY families, while BPL gets wheat at Rs 4.15 per kg and APL at Rs 6.10 per kg.


Mahesh Padmanabhan is principal advisor -- direct taxes group, RelaxWithTax Consultants Pvt Ltd, a Mumbai-based personal taxation and finance solutions provider.