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HindustanTimes Tue,23 Sep 2014

Parliamentary panel may submit report on food bill today

PTI  New Delhi, January 17, 2013
First Published: 08:35 IST(17/1/2013) | Last Updated: 08:47 IST(17/1/2013)

Parliamentary Standing Committee is likely to submit its report on Thursday on the UPA's ambitious food security bill to the Lok Sabha Speaker, with few dissent notes from the members.

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In December 2011, the government had introduced the Food Security Bill, pet project of UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, in the Lok Sabha.

It aims to give legal entitlement on subsidised foodgrain to about two-third of the population, costing more than Rs. 1,00,000 crore to the exchequer.

The panel's Chairman Vilasrao Muttemwar (Cong) has sought time from Speaker for Thursday to submit the report, sources said, adding that the report would carry some dissent notes.

Last week, opposition parties led by BJP had blocked the adoption of the report because of differences on issues like the coverage of poor people and quantity of grains to be supplied.

According to sources, the Committee has suggested covering 67% of the population, which is almost in line with the government's bill.

Sources said the panel has suggested to the Centre that it give freedom to States to identify the beneficiaries.

It is also believed to have suggested that the government consider the option of merging two categories of beneficiary – general households and priority households – with slightly lesser entitlement, sources said, adding that some suggestions on cash transfer of food subsidy has also been made.

The bill aims to give rice and wheat at Rs. 3 and Rs. 2 respectively to priority households (same as BPL families). General households would get grains at 50% of the minimum support (MSP) price.

The priority households would get 7 kg of foodgrains per person per month, while general households would get at least 3 kg. Under the proposed law, 75% of the rural and 50% of the urban population would be covered.


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