The issue of safeguarding the interest of the states has been a key issue during the negotiations over the proposed food bill. At the recent meeting with Congress’ key ally, Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav, food minister KV Thomas reportedly had to explain once again how the states will benefit from the proposed act.
“Uttar Pradesh will see the maximum increase in terms of food grains allocation and consequently, financial allocation. Currently, it gets 65.90 lakh ton food grains
Under the Food Security regime, it will be entitled for 96.15 lakh ton of foodgrain,” food minister KV Thomas told HT.
The current public distribution system is based on 1993-94 consumption expenditure survey. The new inclusion formula devised by the Planning Commission and the Food Ministry for the food security law is based on 2011-12 consumption expenditure survey released in June this year.
The new bill aims to provide subsidized food grains to 67 % of the population. Under the present system only 34% of the population was entitled to get food grains at this cost. Hence, the centre will be spending more money on the food bill subsidies.
The structure of the new food law also mean more allotment to the once-considered Bimaru states – Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Orissa.All these states except Rajasthan are currently ruled by Opposition parties. In other words, many of the non-Congress ruled states would see substantial gains.