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Food bill likely to be tabled in Parliament in December: Thomas

business Updated: Jul 28, 2011 16:41 IST

The proposed National Food Security bill for providing subsidised foodgrains to the poor is likely to be introduced in Parliament by December in 2011, minister of state for consumer affairs and food KV Thomas said on Thursday.

The empowered group of ministers (EGoM) has approved the draft bill, which is now before the law ministry, he told reporters in Chennai.

"Once that is done, it has to go to the Cabinet. We will also discuss with the chief ministers, because they are the implementing agency... then it has to go to Parliament," Thomas, here to inaugurate a CII conference, said.

"What I propose is to introduce the bill by this December so that it can be implemented from next year," he said.

The draft bill, the UPA-II's flagship project aimed at making provision of food support to people facing hunger a duty of the state, was earlier approved by the National Advisory Council headed by coalition chairperson Sonia Gandhi.

Earlier, addressing the conference, "Building Warehousing Competitiveness - The key to logistics success", Thomas said the government plans to create a special purpose vehicle to undertake studies on foodgrain storage handling and transportation.

"The Special Purpose Vehicle is for two purposes - one for the construction of godown and warehouses with modern temperature control and the other is for the movement of vehicles from the producing states to the consuming states," Thomas said.

He said that the Planning Commission was also undertaking a comprehensive study to suggest measures for creation of modern foodgrain storage infrastructure facility in the country.

With the modernisation of the food storage centres by state governments, they were also looking to increase the country's annual production of foodgrains from the present 55 million tonnes to 60 million tonnes.

He said that the ministry was also looking at increasing the food subsidy from the present Rs 60,000 crore to Rs 1 lakh crore.