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Food Security Bill provided for covering 75% rural, 50% urban population
Tuesday, 11 December, 2012, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Our Bureau, New Delhi
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The National Food Security Bill, 2011, introduced in the Lok Sabha on December 22, 2011, provided for coverage of upto 75% of the rural population, with at least 46% population belonging to priority households, and upto 50% of the urban population, with at least 28% population belonging to priority households for receiving subsidised food grains under Targeted Public Distribution (TPDS). The information was given by minister of state (independent charge) for consumer affairs, food & public distribution K V Thomas in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha on Monday.

The Bill is presently being examined by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Food, Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution. Requests have been received for Universal Public Distribution System (PDS). However, government was not considering introduction of Universal PDS as the focus on poor would get diluted.

As on November 1, 2012, the total stocks of food grains in Central Pool were 695.29 lakh MTs. Keeping in view the demands from the states/UTs and current surplus stocks of food grains in the Central pool, government has been making additional allocation over and above the normal TPDS allocation. During the current year, following additional allocations of food grains have been made:

(i) 50 lakh tons for additional BPL families.

(ii) 19.42 lakh tons for additional AAY/BPL families in the poorest districts.

(iii) 7.1 lakh tons for flood, drought, festivals, etc.

In addition, 49 lakh tons of food grains have been allocated to Other Welfare Schemes (OWS). The total allocation during the current year is 624.95 lakh tons taking into consideration normal TPDS allocation, OWS allocation and above mentioned additional allocations.

Further, keeping in view the surplus stock available in Central Pool, food grains are also released under Open Market Sale Scheme (OMSS) with a view to moderate their prices in open market by increasing their availability and are exported also when the international market is favourable.

All states/UTs have been requested to undertake end-to-end computerisation of TPDS including digitisation of ration card / beneficiary data so as to ensure correct identification of beneficiaries and distribution of TPDS commodities to deserving beneficiaries. Fair Price Shop (FPS) automation using bar-coded ration cards, food coupons, smart cards, Aadhar-based Point of Sale devices, etc. would be undertaken by states/UTs as per their requirements.
 
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