M A I N   N E W S

Cabinet to discuss food security Bill soon
Vibha Sharma/TNS

New Delhi, December 5
The Union Cabinet is soon expected to take up for discussion the UPA's ambitious National Food Security Bill. However, a study by the industry chambers ASSOCHAM today warned that the Bill awaiting parliamentary approval should be backed by simultaneous plan to improve essential agricultural linkages as the demand was expected to exceed supply by 2020.

While the proposed law aims at helping the poor to purchase 25 kg of rice or wheat per month at Rs 3 per kg, the country does not produce enough to supply sufficient quantities for meeting this additional demand, the study said.

According to sources, the Food Ministry has moved a Cabinet note of the proposed Bill, which could cost the government exchequer around Rs 95,000 crore a year in subsidies. The Bill, they said, may be taken up for the Cabinet discussion soon as the Centre was keen on introducing it in the winter session of Parliament.

The foodgrain requirement under the proposed Bill that aims to provide legal entitlement to subsidised foodgrain to two-third of the country's population, is estimated to be at 61 million tonnes, a figure that has led to vast scepticism among various sections, including within the ruling combine. The draft Bill aims to provide legal entitlement to subsidised foodgrain to 75 per cent of the country's rural population and 50 per cent of urban India, but the study says that the country does not produce enough to meet the need.





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