Going by the economic status of States, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh will gain

Based on the 2011 Census, Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan and West Bengal are among the States which stand to lose out on foodgrains allocation from the Centre under the National Food Security Law, while Bihar and Uttar Pradesh will gain. This is as per the economic status of the States.

The Planning Commission has worked out the number of eligible beneficiaries as 625 million people in rural areas and 189 million in urban areas — 814 million, i.e. 67.2 per cent of the total population (2011 Census). Each of these people will be eligible to receive five kg of wheat or rice or coarse cereals at Rs. 3, Rs. 2, and Re. 1 per kg respectively under the law. The States have to identify the beneficiaries within six months.

The eligibility of 75 per cent of rural population and 50 per cent of urban population and the total number of eligible persons in each State were worked out and sent to the Food Ministry on Tuesday.

This means that when the States apply the 67 per cent coverage formula at five kg per person under the new law, their requirement of foodgrains may increase or decline.

The States have sought protection of their existing quota but the Centre is yet to decide at which price it will allocate them the additional (existing) grain. The Food Ministry is working out the pricing for Cabinet approval. Rough estimates show that if the grain is distributed at the existing BPL prices, it will entail a subsidy of about Rs. 4,700 crore. This will be in addition to the subsidy of Rs. 1.25 lakh crore for the subsidised grain under the Food Security Ordinance.

The Parliamentary Standing Committee had recommended that eligibility for access to subsidised foodgrains should be not a uniform percentage across all States but should reflect the difference in their economic conditions. Taking the NSS Household Consumption pattern as the base and applying the eligibility of 75 per cent rural and 50 per cent urban population to the 2011 Census, the Planning Commission has worked out the inclusion ratio for coverage under the Targeted Public Distribution System.

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