Food bill: PM to discuss changes today
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has called a meeting tomorrow to consider uniform legal entitlement of subsidised foodgrains to 67% of the country's population under the National Food Security Bill.delhi Updated: Jul 18, 2012 01:05 IST
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has called a meeting on Wednesday to consider uniform legal entitlement of subsidised foodgrains to 67% of the country's population under the National Food Security Bill.
The meeting will discuss whether to accept the alternative plan, suggested by over 30 leading experts and economists, for easy and early implementation of Food Bill, a pet project of UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi.
The experts, including plan panel member Abhijit Sen and former National Advisory Council member Jean Dreze, had termed the government's present bill as "confusing, impractical and divisive", and suggested that 67% of the country's population to be called as "aam log" should be covered under the proposed act.
They have recommended providing at least 25 kg of foodgrains at an uniform rate of Rs 3/kg rice, Rs 2/kg wheat and Re one per kg millet and asked the government do away with dividing beneficiaries into 'general' and 'priority' groups as suggested by NAC.
The proposal is in contrast with the government's Food Bill, in which there is a proposal to provide 35 kg to priority households (BPL families) and a minimum 15 kg for general households (APL families).
The experts have also suggested the government to use 'exclusion criteria' to identify beneficiaries and retain Antyodya Yojana.
Agriculture minister Sharad Pawar, food minister K V Thomas, home minister P Chidambaram, Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia and PMEAC chairman C Rangaran would be present in the meeting, sources said.
The meeting has been called in the backdrop of delay in Socio-Economic and Caste Census (SECC) on the basis of which the government has planned to identify beneficiary (general and priority households) for welfare programmes.