An empowered ministers' panel meeting tomorrow is likely to take some decisions to tackle price rise and finalise the draft Food Security Bill, which seeks to give the poor the right to get rice and wheat at Rs 3 per kg.
The empowered group of ministers, headed by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, is scheduled to review the minimum export price (MEP) for Basmati. In the face of high food inflation, the government has put a ban on rice export but shipments of premium Basmati is allowed with a minimum value tag of USD 900 per tonne.
The Centre proposes to enact a 'National Food Security Act' entitling each BPL (below poverty line) family, by law, to 25 kg of rice or wheat per month at Rs 3 per kg. If the draft Bill is approved, the same would be put in public domain for comments and then tabled in Parliament for approval.
As wheat procurement is to begin from April, the ministers' panel would review the storage capacity with the Food Corporation and other agencies, sources said.
With a bumper harvest expected at 80.28 million tonne, the storage remains a challenge for government agencies.
The ban on pulses exports and duty-free import may also be extended beyond March 31 to augment the domestic supply.
Food inflation in the last week February was 17.81 per cent.