A to Z of Food Security Bill, 2013
Lok Sabha has passed Food Security Bill, 2013(FSB) on august, 2013 after a long 9 hrs debate. FSB aims to provide highly subsidized food grains to nearly 67% of population of India (50% urban and 75% rural) under Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS). Some quick facts on FSB are
- Drafted by the Sonia Gandhi-led National Advisory Council in 2010, the Bill originally proposed legal food entitlement for 75% of India’s population
- A panel led by C Rangarajan recommended lowering entitlements and reforming PDS
- 75% of rural and 50% of urban population - an estimated 800 mn people - are to receive 5 kg of wheat, rice and coarse cereals at Rs 3, Rs 2 and Rs 1 a kg, respectively. The Bill doesn’t include pulses and edible oils, as the country lacks supply of these
- As the govt will procure more grains, farmers might be dissuaded from growing cash crops.
- The present PDS system does not have the legal umbrella. The legal entitlement in the Bill provides beneficiaries the right to take the govt to court if they are denied the service.
- For now, the govt proposes to implement it through existing system of ration shops. Later, it could be shifted to a modernised PDS that works on biometric ration cards.
- The grain required to cover the whole population is estimated at 77 mt, while the govt’s annual procurement has averaged around 60 mt.
- The govt’s food subsidy bill will rise from the present Rs 90,000 crore to over Rs 130,000 crore. Besides inflation fears, the rise in subsidy bill could affect govt’s ability to contain its fiscal deficit at 4.8% of GDP.
- Pregnant women and lactating mothers would receive a maternity benefit of at least Rs. 6,000.
- Children aged six months to 14 years would get take-home ration or hot cooked food.
- The Centre would also provide money to states and union territories if it runs low on grain.
- The Union government also would provide “assistance” towards the cost of intra-state transportation, handling of grains.
- In a bid to give women more authority in running their households, the oldest adult woman in each house would be considered the head of that household for issue of ration card.
- Beneficiary will be identified by states based on parameters prescribed by the Union Government.
- Full text of Bill is available at Food Security Bill, 2013
FSB Timeline Feb 12, 2009
President Pratibha Patil addresses Parliament after UPA-II ministers sworn in.
She puts food security scheme on the government agenda for the first time. Dec 2011
Food security Bill first tabled in Parliament 2012
Bill goes to the Standing Committee of Parliament
Jean Dreze and some economists push Plan-B, which removes distinction between priority groups and non-poor. Representation is also made to the standing committee to move towards individual entitlement of 5 kg per person a month Jan 2013
Standing committee submits recommendation
Final version of Bill incorporates Plan-B and standing committee’s recommendations May 2013
Bill tabled in the Lok Sabha in Budget session but not taken taken up due to chaos in Parliament July 2013
Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs passes ordinance on food security August 2013
Lok Sabha clears food Bill
For Frequent Updates, follow us on Twitter
or like us on Facebook