Chhattisgarh has taken a lead in the country to enact its own Food Security Bill 2012 on Friday on the last day of winter session of the Assembly.
The bill, approved by the Raman Singh cabinet earlier this week, was introduced in the House by food and civil supplies minister Punnu Lal Mohile and extensively discussed before it was unanimously passed.
The new Chhattisgarh Food Security Act 2012 pledges to ensure universal coverage of the state population enabling around 42 lakh families to access quality subsidised food grains.
The priority households will have monthly public distribution system (PDS) entitlement of 35 kg rice, wheat flour, pulses, gram and iodised salt at subsidised price. The law is cited as an extension of the PDS in Chhattisgarh, which has been regarded as a model for other states by the Centre and the Supreme Court.
"The new act will make the acclaimed PDS more comprehensive. Nearly 90% of the provisions incorporated in the Act were already covered under the PDS", the chief minister Raman Singh said.
The new initiative will put a burden of Rs. 2311 crore on the state exchequer. The act will not cover those who are income tax payees, own over 4 hectares of irrigated or 8 hectares of non-irrigated land in non-scheduled areas and who are liable to pay property tax in urban areas.
The entitlements will be given on the basis of per household and not on per person. The entitlements are not restricted to food-grains but there would be provision for iodised salt, pulses, black gram.
The state government will notify schemes within six months of commencement of the Act and will bear full financial burden for entitlements over and above that are provided by the Centre.
Giving a push to further empowerment of women, the ration cards would be issued on the name of the eldest woman in a family. The local bodies would be responsible for implementation of the Act.
Provisions of internal grievance redressal mechanism, publishing of all records in public domain and social audit are also incorporated.