Food Security Bill in Par soon after cabinet approval: Thomas

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Kolkata, Feb 14 (PTI) The Centre is awaiting cabinetapproval to table the National Food Security Bill inParliament soon to provide legal guarantee for cheaper riceand wheat to the poor, Union Minister of State for ConsumerAffairs K V Thomas said today.

"The National Food Security Bill will ensure socialsafety nets to the poor and the vulnerable", Thomas toldreporters after making a ''courtesy call'' to West Bengal ChiefMinister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee here.

About his meeting with chief minister, he said hesuggested to the him how prices of essential commodities couldbe contained and he sought the state government''s cooperationin this regard.

"Hike in prices of essential commodities is a matterof concern which the Centre can contain in close cooperationwith the state governments. I also sought the cooperation ofother chief ministers in this regard", Thomas said.

The union minister said he also discussed with himprocurement, storage and distribution of essential commoditiesthrough Public Distribution System (PDS).

More essential commodities could be channelled throughPDS for distribution among people and stress could also begiven on farmer-oriented market to ensure right price to them,he said.

Farmers should also get more access to the bankingsystem and to credit cards, Thomas observed.

He, however, said the state government was solelyresponsible for distribution of food items. "For improvementin the distribution system, we can help the state government",he added.

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