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Ignoring Sonia,PM’s panel recommends cheap food for poor

NAC,headed by Sonia Gandhi,had recommended legal entitlement to subsidised foodgrains to both 'priority' and 'general' households.

Prime Minister’s expert committee on National Food Security Bill today recommended that the assured delivery of wheat at Rs 2/kg and rice at Rs 3/kg could be given only to poor and expressed difficulty in accommodating category in view of projected food availability.

In contrast,National Advisory Council (NAC),headed by UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi,had recommended legal entitlement to subsidised foodgrains to both ‘priority’ and ‘general’ households,covering at least 75 per cent of the country’s population.

“EC recommends the assured delivery of foodgrains at Rs 2 per kg for wheat and Rs 3 per kg for rice,to the really needy households and the coverage of the rest through an executive order with a varying quantum depending on the availability of foodgrains,” the committee,which is headed by PMEAC Chairman C Rangarajan,said in its report.

The committee has suggested the legal entitlement to 46 per cent of rural and 28 per cent of urban population,which it said “are the same as NAC recommended ‘priority’

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households”.

This captures not only the poor but also some at the margin,the report added.

“National Food Security Bill (NFSB) creates a statutory entitlement for the included population and a legal obligation for the government,hence important to mandate enforceable entitlements keeping in mind the availability of grain,” it argued.

In its election manifesto,the Congress Party had promised to bring food law,under which it would provide 25 kg of wheat or rice per month at Rs 3 per kg to the poor.

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The committee pointed out that foodgrains requirement as well as subsidy outgo projection by the NAC is on the lower side.

First published on: 13-01-2011 at 05:01:29 pm
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