SME Times News Bureau | 03 Mar, 2012
The central government Friday said it will solve "most of the issues" raised by the states on the National Food Security Bill, which is currently before a parliamentary standing committee.
"The state governments have raised about ten points regarding the food security bill and many of them can be discussed and solved. The standing committee is now discussing the issue with the states," union Minister of State for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution K.V. Thomas said on the sidelines of a programme here organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).
"The first (issue) is that there should be flexibility in the distribution of food grains under the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) on a weekly and monthly basis, for which we have no objections. And the issue of cost should be prescribed in consultation with the states," the minister said.
The final shape of the bill will come up after consultation with the states, Thomas said adding that the states might have to bear some cost after the implementation of the bill, aiming at enhancing food security provisions.
He said the citizens will get a legal entitlement when the bill comes out and it could be implemented with full cooperation of the states.
The minister said West Bengal had asked for a Rs.10 billion assistance for food grain procurement and that the Centre was holding talks with the state government to work it out.
The centre has already signalled that it is committed to roll out the Food Security Bill in the next fiscal. The government has proposed to cover 75 percent of the rural population and 50 percent of the urban population.