The UPA government’s proposed National Food Security Bill, aimed at providing subsidised food grains to around 67% Indians, would entail an additional financial burden of Rs.23,000 crore on the exchequer.
The bill is pending before Parliament.In an affidavit filed in response to a query by the Supreme Court on whether the bill’s provisions could be implemented through an executive order as it awaits Parliament’s clearance, the joint secretary of ministry of consumer affairs stated: “Under the Constitutional Scheme financial allocations can only be made by Parliament and sanction for the expenditure for implementation of the provisions of the bill can be made only after the enactment of the food security bill.”
The affidavit would be perused by a bench headed by Justice TS Thakur on Friday.
The government also filed its response to the final report of Justice Wadhwa panel recommending measures to weed out corruption in the PDS. It said the government had initiated one such measure that is to computerise PDS.
The same, it added, would cost R884 crore to the exchequer. However, the government turned down the suggestion to end the Above Poverty Line category and let NGOs run ration shops.