India's 68 pc people may get legal right to subsidised food

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New Delhi, May 29: India's 68 per cent population may get legal right to subsidised food if the draft National Food Security bill prepared by the Food Ministry is approved by a panel of ministers at the forthcoming meeting.

After analysing the recommendations of the National Advisory Committee (NAC) and Rangarajan Committee, the Food Ministry has prepared a draft bill, likely to be placed before the Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) on food next week.

The ministry has also proposed to provide subsidised food grain on ''individual basis'' instead of the current practice of allocating 35 kg of wheat or rice to per family, according to sources.

"The draft bill of the Food Ministry seeks to provide a legal right on subsidised food on ''individual basis'' to about 68 per cent of India's population," a source said.

The ministry's proposal is lower than the Sonia Gandhi led NAC's suggestion that 75 per cent of population should be covered. India's population is over 1.2 billion.

Last week, Food Minister K V Thomas had said that the draft bill was ready and would cover both the priority and general category under the proposed law as suggested by NAC.

The Rangarajan Committee had recommended that legal cover should not be given to ''general'' category due to constraints of foodgrains stocks.

Sources explained that a legal right to an "individual" family member would enlarge the scope of food security in the country. 

PTI

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