Govt likely to bring changes to food Bill
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Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday indicated to Left leaders that his government could make some changes to the National Food Security Bill.
This comes at a time when the Food Ministry is actively considering demands by some activists and experts that the rigid differentiation of 'priority' and 'general' — similar to BPL and APL families — category of beneficiaries with different quantum of food grain entitlements at different prices be done away with.
In its present form, the Bill, which is before the Parliamentary Standing Committee, promises a family of five in the priority category 35 kg foodgrain a month at highly subsidised rates and the rest 15 kg at a relatively higher price.
An alternative proposal being considered is for uniform exclusion of 33 per cent of population from the benefits while treating the rest as a "single category with similar entitlement of 5 kg per person per month". Left leaders led by CPM chief Prakash Karat and his CPI counterpart S Sudhakar Reddy demanded that targeting be done away with altogether. "On the question of targeted system of having priority and general in the Bill, PM said... the government could look at other options," Karat said.
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