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Food Security Act may float backup fund

By Devika Banerji
December 13, 2010 11:27 IST
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The proposed Food Security Act is likely to float a fund to act as a backup in years of drought or flood.

The contingency fund will facilitate direct cash transfer in place of foodgrain entitlements to families unable to access foodgrain due to reduced supply in the public distribution system.

"We have suggested a fund for drought or flood, and when our production is hit. The fund will be with the states which the Centre will provide. The implementing agency will be the respective state governments," said K V Thomas, minister of state for agriculture and food.

The ministry is working on the modalities and implementation issues of the proposed Bill as per the recommendations of the National Advisory Council (NAC).

According to its recommendations, the Bill will guarantee essential food grain like white, rice and millets to two-thirds of the country's population.

The agriculture ministry has an estimated 97 million families in the 'priority' or Below Poverty Line (BPL) category and 89 million families in the 'general' or Above Poverty Line (APL) segment.

This, according to the initial estimates of the agriculture ministry, will require 65 million tonnes of food grain annually.

This is more than the record government procurement of 56.83 million tonnes in 2009-10. The agriculture ministry estimates the average annual procurement level at 45 million tonnes.

Moreover, India's millet production is also not enough to satisfy the entitlements as recommended by NAC.


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Devika Banerji in New Delhi
Source: source