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Cabinet approves Food Security Bill

Cabinet approves Food Security Bill

New Delhi: The Union Cabinet Tuesday approved the National Food Security Bill which aims to give the right to food to around 67 percent of India's 1.2 billion people, official sources said.

"The Cabinet has approved the bill. We will try to bring it in the Lok Sabha this week," Food Minister K.V. Thomas told reporters after the cabinet meeting.

The Cabinet, headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, cleared the bill, a dream project of Congress president and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi.

According to officials, the bill will give 67 percent of citizens entitlement to 5 kg rations per person each month at Rs.3 per kg for rice, Rs.2 per kg for wheat and Re.1 per kg for coarse grains.

The bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha in December 2011 and had been sent to a parliamentary standing committee for further consideration.

In the bill, the government had proposed 7 kg of grain per month per person to "priority households" and at least 3 kg of foodgrain at half the price for "general households".

The current entitlement of 35 kg grain per month for 2.4 crore poorest of the poor families under the Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) will be protected in the bill, said officials.

Though 71 amendments have been proposed to the bill after taking into account the recommendations of the parliamentary standing committee on food, only five to six are major ones, said officials.

According to officials, women with more than two children will also be entitled to nutritional support under the bill.

Also, the government would be able to revise the prices of grain so provided after three years, they said.

According to official estimates, the current food subsidy bill of around Rs.90,000 crore is expected to go up to Rs 1.1 lakh crore once the bill is implemented.


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