Food security Bill may go to Cabinet by year end

Written by M Sarita Varma | Thiruvananthapuram | Updated: Nov 11 2011, 07:40am hrs
The National Food Security Bill (NFSB), which would entail an expenditure of R1 lakh crore in subsidies to the exchequer, is almost ready. However, given the recent string of festivals, it may not be able to meet the November 20 deadline. Therefore, it is likely to seek Cabinet scrutiny by December, according to Union food minister KV Thomas.

The Bill, to be tabled in the winter session of Parliament, if passed, could revolutionise the country's nutrition demography from the year beginning April 2012. After initial discussions with the states, the proposals under the Bill were vetted by the Sonia Gandhi-headed National Advisory Council (NAC), the National Development Council (NDC) and even by the Cabinet once. The draft was then sent to the law ministry for scrutiny.

After another round of consultation with states, the draft Bill will be put up for final clearance by the Union Cabinet.

Thomas said a woman's eye view and lifecyle approach in nutrition were the twin features of the final draft of NFSB.

The draft forsees the food basket widening to include, besides rice and wheat, a whole series of nutri-cereals and other underutilised pulses. The human life-cycle approach focusses on maternal and child nutrition, especially during the first 1,000 days of a childs existence.

For legal entitlements of food, a woman would be seen as the head of the family.