Budget pays lip service to food security

March 01, 2013 04:27 am | Updated December 04, 2021 11:16 pm IST - NEW DELHI:

Although Finance Minister P. Chidambaram has pledged an additional amount of Rs. 10,000 crore to meet the requirement of providing concessional foodgrains to only identified beneficiaries under the proposed National Food Security Bill, it appears that he has garnered this sum by curtailing the annual budgeted Public Distribution System food subsidy requirement of the Department of Food.

The food subsidy budgeted for 2013-14 is Rs. 80,000 crore, and compared with the Rs. 85,000 crore projected in the revised estimates for 2012-13, this indicates a reduction of Rs. 5000 crore.

Having made this reduction, the Minister has, therefore, allocated only an additional Rs. 5000 crore for the food subsidy bill. According to informed sources, the annual budgeted subsidy estimate of the ministry for 2013-14 was around Rs. 90,000 crore. As against this, the allocation is for Rs. 80,000 crore.

The estimated requirement of food subsidy in the government’s National Food Security Bill was Rs. 1,17,000 crore for distribution of 7 kg of foodgrains per person per month.

Subsidy demand

The Parliamentary Standing Committee, to which the Bill was referred, projected a subsidy demand of Rs. 1,12,000 crore for the distribution of 5 kg foodgrains per person per month. They suggested coverage of 67 per cent of the population.

By all accounts, the food bill subsidy allocation should be between ideally Rs. 20,000 to Rs. 30,000 crore, unless the government intends to reduce the number of beneficiaries.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.