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Difficult to implement Food Bill without funds: Pawar

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

Concerned over poor budget allocation for the farm sector, today said it might be difficult to implement the proposed Food Security Bill without adequate funds to boost agri- output, a must for increased foodgrain requirement.

"My grievance is only one -- the total budgeted provision for entire agriculture ministry is Rs 20,000 crore. And subsidy is, as of today, Rs 65,000 crore. It might go to Rs 1 lakh crore in the current year."

"Solution is that unless and until we increase production, we will not be able to implement, we will not be comfortable to implement this [Food Bill]," Pawar told a private new channel.

The Food Bill, which aims to provide legal right over cheap foodgrains to 63.5% of the country's population, has been referred to the Parliamentary Standing Committee.

When pointed out that the was the pet project of UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, the minister said: "This is not a question of individual. This is a question of investment in agriculture."

The ambitious Food Bill, which is considered as a pet project of Gandhi, proposes to give legal entitlement to food to 75% of the people in rural areas, including at least 46% in the priority sections (which is the same as below poverty line families in the existing public distribution system).

Up to 50% of people in urban centres will be covered under the proposed law, of which at least 28% will be in the priority category.

First Published: Sun, January 29 2012. 17:27 IST