Friday, August 30, 2013

Highlights, quick facts and a timeline leading up to the passing of the Food Security Bill


The , which seeks to entitle 67% of the country’s population — about 800 million people — to subsidised food, was passed in the Lok Sabha after a six-hour debate in a late Monday evening sitting.

The Opposition, and even the Samajwadi Party (SP), which renders outside support to , raised several questions — on future availability of food, financing of the ambitious programme and its long-term impact on farming practices in the country — but stopped short of opposing the Bill.
 
Food Minister K V Thomas said the food security programme, which would require 62 million tonnes of foodgrain a year, would entail a burden of Rs 1,30,000 crore on the exchequer. The Bill would have a one-year time period for implementation.

 
A close look at some quick facts

 
The beginning
. Drafted by the -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
. In Sep 2011, the food ministry circulated a draft report for public comments
. In July this year, the govt brought an ordinance covering 67% of the population
 
Who gets what
. 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 Bill doesn’t include pulses and edible oils, as the country lacks supply of these
 
Impact on agri sector
. As the govt will procure more grains, farmers might be dissuaded from growing cash crops
 
Difference from PDS
 The present PDS system does not have the legal umbrella
. The legal entitlement in the Bill provides beneficiaries the right to take the govt to court if they are denied the service
 
Implementation
. For now, the govt proposes to implement it through existing system of ration shops
. Later, it could be shifted to a modernised PDS that works on biometric ration cards
 
Why not universal?
. 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 cost involved
. 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


Who said what on Food Bill
It is time to send out a big message that India can take responsibility of ensuring food security for all Indians...our goal is to wipe out hunger and malnutrition all over the country: chief Sonia Gandhi 
. Food Bill will ensure transparency, accountability in PDS system: Food minister KV Thomas
This is not a food security bill, it is a vote security bill. The government took four years to come up with the food security bill, and I thought it would be an extensive bill: Senior  leader Murli Manohar Joshi
It is clearly being brought for elections ... Why didn't you bring this bill earlier when poor people were dying because of hunger? Every election, you bring up a measure. There is nothing for the poor : SP chief Mulayam Singh
. It would have been a better Bill if my amendments were passed. However, we will improve it when we come to power: Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj
. It is no surprise that the Food Security Bill went sailing through. The question is will it sink us financially: Kiran Mazumdar Shaw 
. Passing of Food Bill loss for Narendra Modi,had written to PM against it.But party (BJP) understood its pro-poor & supported it: JD (U) leader AliAnwar

Highlights of Food Security Bill
Pregnant women and lactating mothers would receive a maternity benefit of at least Rs6,000
Children aged six months to 14 years would get take-home ration or hot cooked food
The Centre would also provide money to states and union territories if it runs low on grain
The Union government also would provide “assistance” towards the cost of intra-state transportation, handling of grains.
In a bid to give women more authority in running their households, the oldest adult woman in each house would be considered the head of that household for issue of ration card.

Click here to read full text

Other existing food schemes

Below Poverty Line (BPL): Households having BPL ration cards are issued 35 kg of rice and wheat for Rs5.65 and Rs4.15 per kg. Last year, the planning commission calculated India’s poverty line for cities at Rs28.65 per day.
 
Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY):  The scheme was launched in December 2000 and it provides 35 kg of grains at heavily subsidised prices to the poorest among the BPL families. Each month, 25 kg of wheat is given at Rs2 per kg, while 10 kg of rice is distributed for Rs3 per kg.
 
Above Poverty Line (APL): Households not covered under the BPL or AAY are eligible to get 35 kg of grains: rice at Rs8.3  per kg and wheat at Rs6.10 per kg.
 
Mid-day Meal Scheme: This is the world’s largest school feeding programme. It caters approximately 20 million children every day. The main purpose is to improve nutritional levels among children, as also encouraging enrolment and attendance. Children get cooked food, including pulses and vegetables.
 
Annapurna Scheme: It targets senior citizens (65 years or older) and gives food security to those not getting a pension. Each month, beneficiaries get 10 kg of grains at no cost.
 
Rajiv Gandhi Scheme for Empowerment of Adolescent Girls: This scheme aims to improve the health of girls between 11 to 18 years. The programme also provides for health check-ups and supplementary nutrition 300 days a year.

courtesy- http://ht.ly/op5lN

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