In keeping with the Congress manifesto as well as President Pratibha Patil's anoouncement in her speech to parliament, the finance minister has promised to bring out the draft National Food Security Bill very soon, saying that work on the bill has begun in earnest.
A draft bill will be put on the website of the department of food and public distribution for public debate and consultation, he said.
Under this act, every family living below the poverty line in rural or urban areas will be legally entitled to 25 kg of rice or wheat per month at Rs3 pr kg.
At present, the centre provides 35 kg of rice or wheat per month to each of over four crore families living below the poverty line. Wheat is supplied at Rs4.15 per kg while rice is at Rs5.65 a kg. Mukherjee said the new bill will soon be introduced after consultation with different stakeholders.
The Centre has enough foodgrain in its buffer stock to implement this law. On the back of bumper foodgrain output and higher minimum support prices, the government has procured a record of over 250 lakh tonnes of wheat and over 300 lakh tonnes of rice till 3 July this marketing season.