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Plan panel may give grim grain news to NAC

The Planning Commission is likely to tell the Sonia Gandhi-headed National Advisory Council (NAC) that providing foodgrains to above poverty line may not be possible, if the Tendulkar Committee recommendations are accepted.

delhi Updated: Sep 23, 2010 00:43 IST
Chetan Chauhan

The Planning Commission is likely to tell the Sonia Gandhi-headed National Advisory Council (NAC) that providing foodgrains to above poverty line may not be possible, if the Tendulkar Committee recommendations are accepted.

The presentation is part of NAC’s consultative process before it arrives at a draft of the proposed food security law.

Panel’s deputy chairperson Montek Singh Ahluwalia, who made a presentation to Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi earlier, is likely to inform the council about the government’s estimate cost of providing 35 kg foodgrains at R3 per kg to 370 million poor Indians.

Although the commission has in-principle agreed to the Tendulkar panel recommendation notifying 37.2 per cent of Indians as poor, the notification hasn’t been done so far. The in principle approved was granted over in April this year.

Ahluwalia is expected to elaborate on implications of the

Tendulkar panel recommendations that can result in an additional burden of R14,000 crore.

The panel believes additional funds are not a problem but getting foodgrains is. India will require 38 to 40 metric tonnes of foodgrains to support the food security plan for poor, which is the same as the country’s annual food procurement in the last four years.

This quantity of foodgrains does cover 11.52 crore APL ration cardholders, which on average off-take 10 to 12 metric tonnes of grains each year. “Providing them with foodgrains on sustained basis won’t be feasible,” said a plan panel paper.

Ahluwalia is likely to convey the same to NAC when it meets on Friday.