six union territories (UTs), namely Andaman & Nicobar Islands, Chandigarh, Dadra & Nagar Haveli, Daman & Diu, Lakshadweep and Puducherry for direct transfer of food subsidy under PDS is on the anvil from next year.
Under this scheme, foodgrains will be issued to ration card holders at the economic cost. The cash subsidy, which is difference between the economic cost and issue price, will be credited to the beneficiaries' bank account in advance.
It is quiet evident that the success of this pilot project and passage of Food Bill would determine the food management and trade policies going forward, experts said.
This would also bring clarity on the price policy to be adopted for procurement of foodgrains from farmers.
The government has faced problems in fixing the support price of wheat this year as Agriculture Ministry and the advisory body CACP had different views.
But, there are no two opinions that the country needs to raise its agriculture production significantly, through the so-called second green revolution, to meet the rising domestic demand and ensure food security, experts said.
The Agriculture Secretary said the government plans to roll-out new schemes to achieve higher production and meet the targeted 4 per cent growth rate in the agriculture and allied sectors in the 12th Five Year Plan (2012-17).
The farm sector, which grew by only 3.3 per cent in the 11th Plan, and food processing industry needs huge public and private investment to boost productivity and cut post-harvest losses of crops.
However, there was no big policy announcement this year to boost public and private investment to strengthen resilience in these two sectors.
President Pranab Mukherjee warned that the agriculture sector should not be ignored even as its share in the country's GDP has dropped to about 15 per cent.
"I understand that the contribution of Agriculture to the country's GDP is declining and is lower than the services and industry sectors today.
"But I would exhort you to resist any temptation to be persuaded by some arguments to give only proportionate importance to this sector. Nothing could be more wrong," Mukherjee had