The government on Wednesday decided to promulgate an ordinance to give nation's two-third population the right to 5 kgs of foodgrain every month at highly subsidised rates of Rs 1-3 per kg.
The Cabinet, which had on last month deferred a decision on the issue, on Wednesday approved promulgating an ordinance to implement the Food Security Bill, sources said.
With this, India will join select league of countries in the world that guarantee majority of its population foodgrains. At Rs 125,000 crore of government support, the food security programme will be the largest in the world.
The Ordinance is being promulgated just weeks before the scheduled Monsoon session of Parliament. Even after the Ordinance, the Bill will have to be approved by both the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha.
The Ordinance, which will guarantee 5 kg of rice, wheat and coarse cereals per month per person at a fixed price of Rs 3, 2, 1, respectively, will come into effect after President Pranab Mukherjee signs it.
However, about 2.43 crore poorest of the poor families covered under the Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) scheme under PDS (Public Distribution System) would get legal entitlement to 35 kg of foodgrains per family per month.
Officials said the Ordinance will be presented to the President on Thursday. Once President signs it, rules will be framed. The programme will be rolled-out from August after state governments prepare the beneficiary list.
The scheme will take at least six moths to cover the entire country, they said.