New Delhi: Sonia Gandhi-led National Advisory Council (NAC) today approved the draft National Food Security Bill, 2011 which aims to make provision of food support to people facing hunger a duty of the state.

With the draft bill prepared by the Working Group on Food Security being legally vetted by a government law officer, the Council will now be sent it to the government.

The decision approving the draft bill was taken at the meeting of the NAC on Wednesday.

The bill guarantees subsidised foodgrains to at least 90 percent of rural households, and 50 percent of urban households.

According to the bill, 46 per cent of the rural and 28 percent of urban households categorised as 'priority group' are entitled to receive foodgrains at 7 kg per head at
Rs three, two and one for wheat or rice or millets respectively.

49 per cent of the rural and 22 percent of urban households categorised as 'general group' are entitled to receive foodgrains at 4 kg per head at not more than 50 percent of the MSP of the respective foodgrain.

The draft bill follows a life cycle approach and introduces a number of other universal guarantees, including nutrition support and maternity entitlements for pregnant women, nutrition support to children both in pre-school centres and in school, but also to all out of school children; destitute feeding and affordable meals for homeless and other needy urban populations; and special guarantees for starvation and emergencies.

It creates also a strong accountability framework for protection of these entitlements and allows imposition of fines on defaulters and compensation to the victim.

It also envisages a strong grievance redress and monitoring system, from the centre to the block level.

Agencies