NAC yet to firm up view on Food Security Bill

Written by Nistula Hebbar | Nistula Hebbar | New Delhi | Updated: Aug 31 2010, 06:18am hrs
The National Advisory Council (NAC) was unable to firm up a final view on the contours of the proposed Food Security Bill agreeing only to meet again on September 24 for another round of discussions.

In an abbreviated meeting on Monday, which had to be cut short due to the NAC chairperson Sonia Gandhis commitments in Parliament, a presentation by Unique Identity Authority (UID) chairman Nandan Nilekani was also postponed.

Sources told FE that some of the major stumbling blocks in arriving at a view on the Bill remain unresolved. The planning commission had suggested differential pricing for below poverty line (BPL) and above poverty line (APL) grain. It suggested that while grain supplied to BPL families be priced at Rs 3 per kg for rice and Rs 2 per kg for wheat, APL grains should be linked to minimum support price and input cost. A tentative price of Rs 12 per kg for wheat had been suggested, said a source.

None of these issues have been resolved yet, although an official release from the NAC states that several issues had been discussed by the group when they met. The proposals by the committee included those on inclusive and enhanced public distribution system (PDS), child and maternal nutrition, special provisions for disabled and vulnerable, PDS reforms and enabling provisions, said a statement issued by the NAC.

Sources also confirmed that the group would be meeting government officials from the agriculture and food ministries before it meets again on September 24.

The other major intervention by the NAC is going to be on the Communal and Sectarian violence bill, the key elements of which have been put up on the NAC website for suggestions by citizens. The NAC has set up an advisory and drafting committee with a time limit of November 15 to submit a final draft for the NACs approval.