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Points to Remember
Drafted by the Sonia Gandhi-led National Advisory Council in 2010, the Bill originally proposed legal food entitlement for 75% of India’s population.
- A panel led by C Rangarajan recommended lowering entitlements and reforming PDS
- July,2013; the govt brought an ordinance covering 67% of the population
- 75% of rural and 50% of urban population — an estimated 800 mn people — are to receive 5 kg of wheat, rice and coarse cereals at Rs 3, Rs 2 and Rs 1 a kg, respectively
- The number of persons to be covered by the Food Security Bill will be based on the 2011 census.
- The legal entitlement in the Bill provides beneficiaries the right to take the govt to court if they are denied the service.
- For now, the govt proposes to implement it through existing system of ration shop. Later, it could be shifted to a modernised PDS that works on biometric ration cards.
- In case of non-supply of foodgrains, the deprived will get a food security allowance. The Bill also provides for grievance redressal mechanism and penalty for non -compliance by a public servant or authority.
- The Bill doesn’t include pulses and edible oils, as the country lacks supply of these.
- As the govt will procure more grains, farmers might be dissuaded from growing cash crops.
- The present PDS system does not have the legal umbrella.
- The grain required to cover the whole population is estimated at 77 mt, while the govt’s annual procurement has averaged around 60 mt
- The govt’s food subsidy bill will rise from the present Rs 90,000 crore to over Rs 130,000 crore
- Besides inflation fears, the rise in subsidy bill could affect govt’s ability to contain its fiscal deficit at 4.8% of GDP.
- Agriculture is a state subject and it will create a huge burden for the states like Tamil Nadu which was implementing such schemes already. Claiming 1000Cr burden by the Tamilnadu CM.
Food Bill sets WTO thinking -The Hindu
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