Food subsidy bill to rise by 27 pc to Rs 74,231 cr this yr

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New Delhi, Feb 22 (PTI) The country''s food subsidy billis expected to jump by 27 per cent to Rs 74,231 crore in the2010-11 fiscal, the Lok Sabha was told today.

This is due to a rise in support price and higherprocurement and distribution of foodgrains via ratio shops.

Last year, the government''s food subsidy bill stood at Rs58,242.45 crore.

"The amount allocated for food subsidy during 2010-11 isRs 59,354.56 crore...Based on the actual offtake, anadditional requirement of Rs 14,877.63 crore has been soughtfor the current year," Food Minister K V Thomas said in awritten reply.

The food subsidy bill rose due to an increase inprocurement of foodgrains for the Central Pool, higher minimumsupport price and additional allocation of rice and wheat tothe poor via ration shops and open market, he said.

The procurement cost of foodgrains has gone up but theselling price of rice and wheat via ration shops has been keptunchanged since 2002, he added.

The minister said the subsidy bill also increaseddue to higher offtake of subsidised foodgrains under thepublic distribution system and other welfare schemes.

Currently, the government supplies 35 kg of rice or wheatat subsidised rates to 6.52 crore families living belowpoverty line (BPL) every month. Wheat is supplied at Rs4.15/kg and rice at Rs 5.65/kg to BPL families.

Depending on the foodgrains availability, the Centrealso supplies the subsidised rice and wheat to 11.5 crorefamilies living above poverty line (APL). Wheat and rice aresold to them at Rs 6.10/kg and Rs 8.30/kg, respectively. PTILUX

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