The story, ‘NAC consensus on food security,' in The Hindu of October 24, 2010 erroneously stated that the National Advisory Council recommendations on the proposed Food Security Bill envisage 35 kg of foodgrains at subsidised prices for 75 per cent of the population and 20 kg for the remaining 25 per cent of the population.
In fact, the NAC recommendation is that the new law should provide a legal entitlement to subsidised foodgrains for at least 75 per cent of the population, which translates into 90 per cent of the country's rural population and 50 per cent of the urban population.
This 75 per cent of the population is, in turn, divided into “priority households” — who should have a monthly entitlement of 35 kg at a subsidised price of Re. 1 a kg for millets, Rs. 2 a kg for wheat and Rs. 3 a kg for rice — and “general households” who should have a monthly entitlement of 20 kg “at a price not exceeding 50 per cent of the current Minimum Support Price” for the three grains.
The NAC proposes that 46 per cent of the rural population and 28 per cent of the urban population would be classified as priority households. And that 44 per cent of the rural and 22 per cent of the urban population would be classified as general households. The criteria for categorising households as ‘priority' or ‘general' should be specified by the government of India.
What this means is that those entitled to 35 kg of grain in the price range of Rs 1-3 will form approximately 40 per cent of the total population, while those entitled to 20 kg will form approximately 35 per cent of the population. The NAC proposal also allows for the provision of subsidised foodgrains to be extended beyond the poorest 75 per cent of the population.
The errors in the original story are regretted.