Kochi: The proposed Food Security Bill will have a liablity of Rs 3.50 lakh crore, Food Minister K V Thomas said on Saturday.

Of the total liability, Rs 1.10 lakh crore will be needed for the agriculture sector and Rs 95,000 crore for food subsidy, according to sources.

Thomas said India is the only country where 10.52 crore below poverty line cards are being distributed.

The National Food Security Bill aims to give legal entitlement to subsidised foodgrains to 63.5 percent of the country's population.

Under the proposed law, beneficiaries have been divided into priority households and the general households. Priority households are those below poverty line families in the existing public distribution system, while general households are above poverty line families.

In rural areas, up to 75 percent of the people will be covered by the Bill while in urban centres, it will cover up to 50 percent of the populace.

The Bill seeks to provide 7 kg of rice and wheat per month per person to priority households at Rs 3 and Rs 2 per kg, respectively. Persons under the general households would get at least three kg of rice and wheat at 50 percent of the minimum support price.

The government is planning to bring in the National Food Security Bill which will create a liability of Rs 3.50 lakh crore, Thomas said at an award function of the state Forum of Bankers Clubs here.

Commenting on the banking sector, Thomas said that at a time when banks in the US and other countries are facing extremely hard times, Indian banking system is going strong.

"The Indian economy is growing, though we have some challenges and difficulties," he said.

The minister also presented the 'Businessman of the Year' award to Dubai-based R P Group Managing Director B Ravi Pillai.

The forum also gave away awards in various categories. Bank of Baroda and Karur Vysya Bank have been selected as 'Best Banks' in the public and private sectors respectively at the national level for this year.

The selection in this regard was made by a jury appointed by the State Forum of Bankers Clubs in Kerala.

Justice V R Krishna Iyer presented the Best Bank Award under Rural Development to V K Saigal, Chairman North Malabar Gramin bank.

(Agencies)