Govt revises Food bill, sends to Law Minister for vetting
According to sources, the Food ministry has revised the Bill after consultation with UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, who has strongly favoured higher allocation for AAY people.
The Food ministry is working closely with the Planning Commission to finalise the criteria for excluding 30-33 percent of population from the benefits of the Bill, he added.
"The Planning Commission's formula for exclusion of population will be given to the states. On that basis, states will be allowed to include or exclude beneficiaries," Thomas said, adding the Centre has taken into account the state governments' views in the revised Bill.
That apart, Thomas said the current entitlement given to the states under PDS would be protected.
This means states can supply more grains but the legal right would be given only on the quantity of grains mentioned in the Bill.
Total foodgrains requirement to implement the bill, once it becomes the law, would increase to 62-64 million tonne with continuation of AAY entitlements, while subsidy will shoot up by Rs 20,000 crore from the current Rs 1 lakh crore, he said.
After seeking Cabinet's approval, Food Ministry aims to present the revised Bill in the Budget session of Parliament and hopes to see its passage in the next session.
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