Inclusion, exclusion categories to replace BPL, APL labels

Parliament’s Standing Committee on Food and Consumer Affairs has suggested that food entitlements under the National Food Security Act be made available to 67 per cent of the population, leaving out the 33 per cent who pay taxes, have a pucca house, and so on.

It wants the “Priority” (Below Poverty Line) and “General” (Above Poverty Line) categories to go and be replaced with “inclusion” and “exclusion” categories.

The identification of beneficiaries for subsidised rice and wheat under the Public Distribution System will be done by State governments.

The committee, headed by Vilas Muttemwar, has decided to speed up submission of its report to the Lok Sabha Speaker as the issue is likely to come up at the Congress party’s “ chintan shivir ” in Jaipur later this week.

According to informed sources, the panel has assessed the total requirements of foodgrains at 62 million tonnes per year with a subsidy bill of over Rs. 1.15 lakh crore. The Central Government will make subsidised foodgrains available to 67 per cent of the population including 75 rural and 50 per cent urban.