New Delhi: The Food Ministry has moved a Cabinet note on the National Food Security Bill which aims to provide legal entitlement to subsidised foodgrains to two-third of the country's population, sources said.
    
The proposed bill, which would cost the government exchequer Rs 94,973 crore a year in subsidies, may be taken up for the Cabinet discussion soon as the Centre is keen on introducing it in the ongoing session of Parliament.
    
"The inter-ministerial comments came on December 1, and we have already moved the Cabinet note," sources said.     

The legal entitlement to subsidised foodgrains would help in achieving the two key objectives -- the government's responsibility of providing food security to the poor and meeting the Millennium Development Goal of eradicating poverty and hunger by 2015, they said.
    
Earlier, in July, the EGoM on Food had cleared the draft National Food Security Bil.
    
The foodgrain requirement under the proposed Bill is estimated to be at 61 million tonnes.
    
Sources said the proposed bill would raise the food subsidy bill by Rs 27,663 crore to Rs 94,973 crore a year. At present, the subsidies on food is Rs 67,310 crore.
    
Under the proposed Bill, ration card would be issued to the eldest female member of the family.
    
Each individual of the 'priority household' (BPL family) is entitled for seven kilograms of rice, wheat and coarse grains at Rs 3, Rs 2 and Rs 1 per kg, respectively.
    
An individual of the 'general household' (APL family) is entitled for three kilograms of foodgrains at not exceeding 50 percent of the minimum support price (MSP).
    
At present, the government supplies 35 kg of wheat at Rs 5.65 per kg and rice at Rs 4.15 per kg to 6.52 crore families living below the poverty line (BPL) through ration shops.
     
It also supplies 15-20 kg of wheat (at Rs 6.10/kg) and rice (at Rs 8.30/kg) to 11.5 crore families living above poverty line (APL).
    
According to sources, cost of providing food security to homeless, destitutes and disaster affected people is estimated at Rs 8,920 crore a year, while the expense of providing maternity benefits of Rs 1,000 per month for six months is pegged at Rs 14,512 crore annually.
    
The state governments have to bear the transportation cost of foodgrains estimated at Rs 8,300 crore per year and Rs 320 crore annually for running District Grievances Redressal
Commission, they noted.

Agencies