Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee on Wednesday stressed the need for an efficient public distribution system for poor families for insulating them from the adverse impact of the inflation by supplying essential commodities through the system.
“Besides the reforms in PDS, huge investments are required in the agriculture sector, including farm technology, to meet the food requirement of over 1.2 billion population,” Mukherjee said.
“Today (after 65 years of independence) people are not ready to wait any longer ... today they are eager to have their empowerment ... not in the documents of the Planning Commission or the assurance of policy makers, but entitlement backed by legal enactment. That is the rational of having the food security Bill,” Mukherjee observed. On the issue of food security, he said, “We shall have to work out an implementable work programme for meeting the requirement of the people despite problems and constraints.”
The food subsidy bill for the current year is estimated to be R63,000 crore. In Budget 2011-12, the government had estimated the bill to be around R60,000 crore. The National Food Security Bill 2011 envisages providing legal entitlement over subsidised grain to 63.5% of the country’s population. The bill which was introduced in Parliament in December last year, has been referred to the standing committee.