The Food Security programme when implemented will be the biggest in the world with the government spending estimated at Rs 125,000 crore annually on supply of about 62 million tonnes of rice, wheat and coarse cereals to 67 per cent of the population.
Major highlights of the Bill are:
# The proposed bill guarantees two-third population the right to 5 Kgs of foodgrains every month at highly subsidised rates of Rs 1-3 per kg.
# Under the bill, every person belonging to 'eligible households' will be entitled to receive 5 Kg of foodgrains per person per month at subsidised rates from state governments under the targeted Public Distribution System (PDS).
# With this, India will join select league of countries in the world that guarantee majority of its population foodgrains.
# At Rs 125,000 crore of government support, the food security programme will be the largest in the world.
# The Ordinance, which will guarantee 5 kg of rice, wheat and coarse cereals per month per person at a fixed price of Rs 3, 2, 1, respectively, will come into effect after President Pranab Mukherjee signs it.
# However, about 2.43 crore poorest of the poor families covered under the Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) scheme under PDS (Public Distribution System) would get entitlement to 35 kg of foodgrains per family per month.
# The bill will provide more power to women as it will entitle the eldest woman (above 18 years) of the household to be head of the household for the purpose of issue of ration cards.
# Under the proposed bill, every pregnant woman and lactating mother will be entitled to free of charge meal, during pregnancy and six months after the child birth.
# The bill also guarantees free and appropriate meal to every child up to the age of 6 years, through local anganwadi so as to meet the nutritional standards. The children within the age group of 6-14 will be entitled to free mid-day meal everyday, government and government aided schools.
(With Agency inputs)