Implementation of the National Food Security Bill will entail a subsidy of a whopping Rs 1.12 lakh crore, Food and Consumer Affairs Minister K V Thomas has informed the Rajya Sabha.
Food subsidy acording to the 1993-94 poverty line and 2000 population census is Rs 88,976 crore and according to the 2011 census it would be Rs 197,096 crore, he said during Question Hour.
Additional food subsidy burden for 2012-13 is estimated at Rs 1,12,205 crore, he said adding this is Rs 3,000-4,000 crore more than previous estimate "which the country can manage".
The National Food Security Bill provides that priority households will be entitled to receive rice at Rs 3 per kg, wheat at Rs 2 per kg and coarse grains at Rs 1 per kg.
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General households, under the Bill, are entitled for foodgrains at a price not exceeding 50 per cent of Minimum Support Price for wheat and coarse grain and not exceeding 50 per cent of derived MSP for rice.
"We need 561 lakh tonnes of foodgrains (for distribution through public distribution system) as per 1993-94 poverty line and 2000 census," he said.
"As per provisions of NFSB, and using 2011 Census population, the requirement of foodgrains for Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) and Other Welfare Schemes (OWS) prescribed in the Bill, is estimated at 607.4 lakh tonnes," he said.
The Bill does not include sugar as legal entitlement.
Thomas said the stock of foodgrains available in the Central Pool as on March 1, 2012 is 544.3 lakh tonnes. The average annual procurement of rice and wheat during the last four years (2007-08 to 2010-11) has been about 570 lakh tonnes as compared to 382.2 lakh tonnes during 2000-01 to 2006-07.
The procurement of wheat during marketing season 2011-12 was 283.4 lakh tonnes and estimated procurement of rice during 2011-12 is 353.2 lakh tonnes.