New Delhi: Minister of State for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution KV Thomas on Thursday introduced in Lok Sabha the National Food Security Bill, which aims to provide subsidised food grain to over 60 per cent of the country's population.
The bill was cleared by the Union Cabinet without any discussion on Monday.
It's being billed as the most ambitious program of the UPA after the Employment Guarantee Scheme.
In rural areas up to 75 per cent of the people will be covered by the Bill while in urban centres, it will cover up to 50 per cent of the populace.
General category would get at least 3 kg of grains at a rate not exceeding 50 per cent of the minimum support price.
The Bill seeks to provide 7 kg of rice and wheat per month per person to priority households at Rs 3 and Rs 2 per kg, respectively. Persons under the general households will get at least 3 kg of rice and wheat at 50 per cent of the minimum support price.
The Food Security Bill also promises hot, mid-day meals for children up to 14 years of age and Rs 6,000 for all pregnant and lactating women, all this will now be a legal entitlement.
The Bill provides cash reimbursement if the government fails to provide subsidised foodgrains because of natural calamities such as drought and floods.
The Congress, preparing for another round of electoral battle in five states, including Uttar Pradesh in 2012, it could well be a part of its poll agenda.
(With additional information from PTI)