The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs on Thursday endorsed a key change in the food security bill that seeks to continue and protect existing levels of food allocations to states beyond what has been stipulated in the proposed legislation and the extra allocations will be priced differently.
The move clears a major hurdle in the way of the food bill, since states such as Tamil Nadu were keen to ensure their quota of grains will not be decreased because of the new legislation.
About 3 million tonne of extra grains will now be supplied to states at the so-called above poverty line rates of R6.10 a kg for wheat and R8.30 a kg for rice.
The government’s subsidy burden for this would come to R5,094 crore, taking up the cost of the food bill to R1.27 lakh crore annually.
The food ministry had moved a proposal before the CCEA to protect the average offtake of the states under the Public Distribution System (PDS) of lastthree years.
Under the food bill, the government will provide 5 kg rice and wheat per month per person at R3 and R2 per kg respectively.