The empowered group of ministers will on Monday take into account various inputs, particularly from the Congress, on the proposed national food security bill.
The Congress wants the group to plug all the lacunae in the draft bill. Party managers also want a relook at a clause that restricts foodgrain allocation to below-poverty-line (BPL) families to 25 kg a month.
They said this would be less than the Supreme Court’s food entitlement order of 35 kg for each BPL family. Moreover, states such as Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh provide 35 kg foodgrain to BPL families.
The Congress in its 2009 poll manifesto pledged to enact a right to food law to guarantee sufficient food to all people. Once enacted, it would be a showpiece legislation for UPA II to match NREGA in UPA I.
The party also promised that every BPL family will be entitled to 25 kg rice or wheat per month at Rs 3 a kg and setting up community kitchens in all cities for the homeless and migrants with central support.
“The government should address all issues related to BPL before enacting the law,” a leader said.
Congress chief Sonia Gandhi has made it clear that the food bill is one of her pet projects. At a party convention on March 27, she said, “We are committed to the passage of a right to food security law. This will mark yet another achievement in our continuing battle against chronic starvation and malnutrition.”
But some in the Congress want the government to mobilise adequate resources for the bill. “It is certainly going to be heavy on the exchequer,” a leader said.