An empowered group of ministers (EGoM) is examining various issues relating to the proposed National Food Security Act (NFSA) which, inter-alia, envisages entitling every family below poverty line (BPL) to a certain quantity of foodgrains each month at subsidised prices.
The Planning Commission, which is the nodal agency of the government for estimating poverty at national and states level, will decide the criteria for identification of BPL families and estimate the number of BPL families, minister of state for agriculture, consumer affairs, food and public distribution KV Thomas informed the Rajya Sabha in a written reply on Friday.
The ministry of rural development has issued the guidelines and methodology for identification of BPL families in the rural areas while the actual survey of BPL families is carried out by the state governments, the minister informed.
At present, the central government makes allocations under the targeted public distribution system (TPDS) to the states for 65.2 million BPL families, including 24.3 million antyodaya anna yojana (AAY) families.
According to the minister, this number was based on the March 1993 poverty estimates of the Planning Commission and the population estimates of the Registrar-General of India as of 1 March 2000.
The number of BPL ration cards (including AAY ration cards) issued by the states stood at 110.8 million as of 31 March 2010.