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Indian cabinet approves food bill
March 20, 2013, 8:06 am


A study released last year revealed that 42 per cent of Indian children are suffering from malnutrition [AP]

The Indian government has approved the National Food Security Bill which aims to give the right to food to around 67 per cent of India’s 1.2 billion people.

“The cabinet has approved the bill. We will try to bring it in the Lok Sabha [lower house of the Indian Parliament] this week,” K V Thomas, India’s food minister, told reporters after the cabinet meeting.

The cabinet, headed by Manmohan Singh, the country’s prime minister, cleared the bill.

The disparity between its rich and poor is the biggest problem that the largest democracy, and the second fastest growing economy in the world faces today.

“Food security is as much a basic human right as the right to education or the right to health care,” said Palaniappan Chidambaram, India’s finance minister in his budget speech on February 28.

The new law proposes to provide rice at Rs.3 per kg, wheat at Rs.2 per kg and millet at Rs.1 per kg.

A study released in 2012 by the prime minister revealed that 42 per cent of Indian children are suffering from malnutrition, which manifests directly from abject poverty.

The total food subsidy bill for 2013-14 will be around $18.4 billion including the costs of the food security programme, according to Indian government estimates.

The Food Bill, which was first tabled in 2011, does away with the Below Poverty Line and Above Poverty Line distinction.

Source: Agencies