Cabinet to take a final view on food bill on Monday | delhi | Hindustan Times
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Cabinet to take a final view on food bill on Monday

The Union Cabinet is expected to take a final view on the controversial food security bill on Monday amid government plans to introduce it in Parliament in the next couple of days.

delhi Updated: Dec 16, 2011 16:14 IST

The Union Cabinet is expected to take a final view on the controversial food security bill on Monday amid government plans to introduce it in Parliament in the next couple of days.

Food minister KV Thomas said discussions on the food bill in the Cabinet meeting earlier this week were postponed for want of time.

"Discussions will continue when the Cabinet meets at 9:30 am on Monday," he told reporters outside the Parliament premises.

He said once the Cabinet approves the food security bill, the Food Ministry would finalise the draft bill and try to introduce it in the winter session of Parliament, which concludes on December 22.

Asked about the objections raised by the Agriculture Ministry on the financial viability of the proposals made in the Bill, Thomas said the Cabinet was looking into the bill that seeks to make "huge financial commitments."

"That is why the Cabinet is looking into it as a huge financial commitment is involved. So, naturally, the cabinet has to look into it," he said.

Meanwhile, Thomas also held meetings with several cabinet colleagues and made attempts to address their concerns over the bill.

The food bill is a pet project of Sonia Gandhi-led National Advisory Council and formed part of the promises made ahead of the 2009 general elections.

The proposed Act seeks to give a legal entitlement to subsidised foodgrains to 63.5% of the country's population.

Under the proposed law, beneficiaries have been divided into priority households and the general households. Priority households are those below poverty line families in the existing public distribution system, while general households are above poverty line families.

In rural areas, up to 75% of the people will be covered by the Bill while in urban centres, it will cover up to 50% of the populace.

The Bill seeks to provide seven kg of rice and wheat per month per person to priority households at Rs 3 and Rs 2 per kg, respectively.

Persons under the general households would get at least three kg of rice and wheat at 50% of the minimum support price.