67 % population entitled for food: Panel
As per the suggestions made by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Food and Consumer Affairs headed by Vilas Muttemwar:
- Food entitlements under the National Food Security Act should be made available to 67 % of the population, excluding the 33% who pay taxes, have a pucca house etc.
- The ‘priority’ (Below Poverty Line) and ‘general’ (Above Poverty Line) categories should be done away with and should be replaced with “inclusion” and “exclusion” categories.
- The identification of beneficiaries for subsidised rice and wheat under the Public Distribution System will be done by State governments.
- The panel has calculated the total requirements of foodgrains at 62 million tonnes per annum with a subsidy bill of over Rs. 1.15 lakh crore.
As per National Food Security Act, the Central government will make subsidized foodgrains available to 67 % of the population, including 75% rural and 50% urban, even though States have different estimates of the poor.
The Act was referred to the Parliamentary committee in December 2011 after it was introduced in the Lok Sabha amid demand for a universal food security bill.