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Plan panel firms up food security law proposals

The Centre has firmed up proposal on setting up facilities for foodgrain storage and reforming the public distribution system (PDS) to plug leakages. This is mandated in the proposed national food security law cleared by a Cabinet committee.
By Chetan Chauhan | Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JUL 24, 2011 11:12 PM IST

The Centre has firmed up proposal on setting up facilities for foodgrain storage and reforming the public distribution system (PDS) to plug leakages. This is mandated in the proposed national food security law cleared by a Cabinet committee.

Finance minister Pranab Mukerjee, who heads the empowered group of ministers that approved the law, had asked Planning Commission deputy chairperson Montek Singh Ahluwalia to finalise the two vital aspects to implement the law.

For setting up adequate decentralised storage, the plan panel has finalised a public-private partnership (PPP) proposal for setting up silos with capacity of 50,000 metric tonne foodgrain.

India faces a shortage of storing facility of about five mt of foodgrain depending on production. With India requiring food storing capacity of about 300 mt to meet the demand under the new law, storage facility is vital.

As per the plan, states will have to provide land to private partners to build storage facilities. A firms will get R6 per tonne every month as the rental for storage in first three years. "The prices will be revised as per inflation trends," an official said. The Food Corporation of India will bear the rental cost.

The panel has also said the land should be provided near railway tracks for ensuring easy transportation and private partners will have the liberty to utilise land as per their choice.

On introducing cash transfer of food subsidy, the panel has submitted a plan in which each below poverty line family will get a unique identification-linked smart card, which the holder will be able to get his monthly quota of ration.

As per the new model, the fair price shop owner will get foodgrain at the issue price plus transportation cost. “Instead of the fair price shop owner getting the subsidy, the poor consumer will get it resulting in no incentive to sell food grains in the open market,” a senior plan panel functionary said.

NFSA proposal

Coverage of 75% of rural and 50% of urban population

46% in rural and 28% in urban BPL families will get 35 kg of food grains every month at a rate of Rs3 for rice, Rs2 for wheat and Rs1 for coarse grains

The remaining will get 15 kg of food grains at a rate of 50% of the maximum support price for food grains.

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