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High subsidy burden due to Food Bill is exaggeration: Plan Com

The bill proposes to give legal right on 35 kg food grains per family per month

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Member today termed it exaggeration, the likely huge rise in government's burden on account of implementing the proposed National Food Security Bill, as suggested in some quarters.

Introduced in Parliament in 2011, the Food Bill, which is likely to cost the exchequer about Rs 1,24,724 crore, aims to give legal right to uniform quantity of 5 kg at a fixed price of Rs 1-3 per kg via ration shops to 67% of the population.

"There will be subsidy burden of the but not as much as some people are exaggerating," Member (Agriculture) Planning Commission Abhijit Sen told PTI on the sidelines of the BP Pal Memorial Lecture at the Indian Agriculture Research Institute (IARI) here.

Sen was presiding over the lecture, which was given by Planning Commission Member K Kasturirangan.

The bill, an ambitious project of UPA government, also proposes to give legal right on 35 kg food grains per family per month to poorest of the poor families covered under the Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) scheme under PDS. The food grains requirement is expected to be 61.23 million tonnes.

On growth in agriculture sector, Sen said: "...We would be able to achieve 4% agriculture growth as we have already achieved 3.7% growth."

He added that in the 12th Five year Plan (2012-17) also the Planning Commission has set the target of 4% growth for agriculture.

The government had tried to get the Food bill passed in Lok Sabha in the recently-concluded Budget session, but the debate on the proposed legislation could not be concluded amid din.

Recently, Food Minister K V Thomas had virtually ruled out bringing an ordinance for implementation of Food Bill and favoured discussion on the proposed legislation in the coming Parliament session.

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