10 things you need to know about the Food Security Bill

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New Delhi:  The National Food Security Bill, UPA government's ambitious social welfare programme, is awaiting its passage in Parliament. It was tabled in the Lok Sabha yesterday amid uproar created by the Opposition over allegations of corruption in the UPA government.
Here are the 10 things you need to know about the Food Security Bill:
  1. The National Food Security Bill is the brainchild of Congress president Sonia Gandhi.
  2. The bill was originally introduced in Parliament in December 2011. The government had tried to take up the bill in Parliament last week also but could not as Opposition members disrupted the House, demanding Prime Minister's resignation over the coal blocks issue.
  3. A centrepiece of the ruling government's campaign in 2009, the bill was cleared by a parliamentary committee in January this year.
  4. The proposed bill aims to provide legal right over subsidised foodgrain to 67 per cent of the population.
  5. The bill proposes to do away with priority and general classifications of beneficiaries and provide uniform allocation of 5 kg foodgrain (per person) at fixed rate of Rs 3 (rice), Rs 2 (wheat) and Rs 1 (coarse grains) per kg to 75 per cent of the rural population and 50 per cent of the poor in urban India - about 800 million people.
  6. Protection to 2.43 crore poorest of poor families under the Antodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) to supply of 35 kg foodgrains per month per family would continue.
  7. Nutritional support to pregnant women without limitation are among other changes proposed in the bill.
  8. It will be linked to the Aadhar scheme which provides every citizen with a unique identification number that's linked to a database that includes the biometrics of all card-holders.
  9. At the proposed coverage of entitlement, total estimated annual foodgrains requirement is 61.23 million tonnes and is likely to cost the exchequer Rs. 1,24,724 crore.
  10. The government would like to be able to seek re-election in 2014 by highlighting that it has delivered on a major promise made by Congress president Sonia Gandhi and other leaders of her party during their campaign in the last general election.


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