The Food Security Bill or FSB requires 62 million tonnes of foodgrains every year and will cost the exchequer Rs1.3 lakh crore per annum
The Lok Sabha on Monday cleared the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government’s ambitious Food Security Bill (FSB). The bill will now be considered by the Rajya Sabha (upper house). Here is a primer of on the Bill.
Who will be covered?
Up to 75% of the rural population (with at least 46% from priority category) and up to 50% of urban population (with at least 28% from priority category) are to be covered under Targeted Public Distribution System. Meals for special groups such as destitute, homeless persons, emergency/ disaster affected persons and persons on the verge of starvation will also be covered.
Who and how will these people be identified?
Number of persons to be covered to be on the basis of the population estimates as per the Census of India of which the relevant figures have been published. Within the coverage determined for each State, the State Government will have to identify households eligible.
How much of food grains will be given, at what price?
7kg of food grains per person per month to be given to priority category households which include rice, wheat and coarse grains at Rs3, Rs2, and Re1 per kg, respectively
At least 3kg of food grains per person per month to be given to general category households, at prices not exceeding 50% of Minimum Support Price (MSP). After implementation of the proposed Act, about 75 % persons in villages will get wheat at the rate of Rs2 per kg and rice at the rate of Rs3 per kg. However, farmers will get more for their produce i.e. Rs12.85 per kg for wheat and Rs12.50 per kg for paddy as MSP. Food Security Allowance in case of non-supply of food-grains or meals
How much of foodgrain is needed?
FSB would require 62 million tonnes of food grain every year
What would be the cost?
The food subsidy bill would rise to Rs1.3 lakh crore per annum (1.2% of GDP), up from Rs80,000 crore currently (0.8% of GDP), or an additional fiscal burden of 0.3-0.4 percentage points every year.
Who will meet the expenditure?
Central Government will provide assistance to States in meeting the expenditure incurred by them on transportation of food grains within the State, its handling and Fair Price Shops (FPS) dealers margin as per norms to be devised for this purpose.
What are the benefits to women and children?
Women to be made head of the household for the purpose of issue of ration cards. Pregnant women and lactating mothers to be entitled to meals and maternity benefit of not less than Rs6,000. Children in the age group of 6 months to 14 years to be entitled to meals under Intergrated Child Development Services (ICDS) and Mid-Day Meal (MDM) schemes.
Will there be a grievance mechanism?
Yes. It is expected to be a three-tier independent grievance redressal mechanism at District and State levels. However, States will have the flexibility to use the existing machinery or set up separate mechanism.
Who will ensure transparency and accountability?
Social audit will be done by local bodies such as Gram Panchayats, Village Councils, etc.
Other provision for transparency are: Public Distribution System (PDS) related records to be placed in public domain and Vigilance Committees
Despite having wide punitive powers, the provident fund dept claimed helplessness in procuring PF accounts from an organisation. The CIC directed the PIO to obtain the information and provide to the appellant. This is 162nd in a series of important judgements given by former Central Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi that can be used or quoted in an RTI application
The Central Information Commission (CIC), while allowing an appeal, directed the Public Information Officer (CPIO) of Employee's Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO)'s regional officer at Allahabad, to procure information about provident fund (PF) accounts from the employer and provide it to the appellant. The PIO had claimed helplessness in obtaining PF account records from an organization.
While giving this judgement on 17 June 2011, Shailesh Gandhi, the then Central Information Commissioner said, “It is the pathetic state of affairs that the PF department which has been given very wide punitive powers is claiming helplessness for years when an organization does not give its returns. The PF department does not appear to be conscious of the fact that it is responsible for amounts deducted from employees across the country and by such actions it is not discharging its duties towards the employees.”
Akbarpur (Janpad- Ambedkarnagar/ Uttar Pradesh) resident Mohammad Aslam, on 30 November 2010, sought from the PIO information about the status of his provident fund (PF). Here is the information he sought under the RTI Act...
Reasons for not providing the PF Deposit from applicant's Employee's Provident Fund account as requested in application dated 9 November 2010.
The PIO returned the application to Aslam due to certain defects, which should be cured for the release of the applicant's PF deposit.
Citing PIO did not provide any information, the applicant filed his first appeal. However, there was no mention of any order by the First Appellate Authority (FAA).
Aslam, the applicant, then twice sent his appeal to the Office of the Additional Central Provident Fund Commissioner, who forwarded it to the Regional Provident Fund Commissioner (Appellate Authority).
After not receiving any information from the PIO or any reply from the FAA, the applicant approached the CIC with his second appeal.
During the hearing, Mr Gandhi, the then CIC, noted that the appellant was seeking information about the PF status of his account.
The PIO disclosed that it had not been possible (for him) to give the status of the PF accounts since the employers has not filled in the required form and sent it to the Department.
Mr Gandhi said, "It is the pathetic state of affairs that the PF Department, which has been given very wide punitive powers, is claiming helplessness for years when an organization does not give its returns. The PF department does not appear to be conscious of the fact that it is responsible for amounts deducted from employees across the country and by such actions it is not discharging its duties towards the employees."
"In the instant case the employer's representatives are present and they are committed that they would give the returns to the PF Authority before 30 July 2011,' the Bench noted.
While allowing the appeal, the CIC directed the PIO to ensure that the information sought by Aslam is supplied to him before 15 August 2011. "If the returns are not submitted by the employer, the PF Authority should take punitive action for which they have been given powers," the Bench said in its order.
CENTRAL INFORMATION COMMISSION
Decision No. CIC/SG/A/2011/000740/12919
Appeal No. CIC/SG/A/2011/000740
Appellant : Md. Aslam,
Uttar Pradesh- 224122
Respondent : Brijesh Kumar Mishra
PIO & RPFC-II,
Employee's Provident Fund Organisation,
United Tower IInd & IIIrd Floor,
53, Leader Road, Allahabad
The ratings agency would sell its 49% stake in its joint venture with NSE to an unit of the Exchange for Rs100 crore
Ratings agency, CRISIL Ltd on Tuesday said that it will sell 49% of its stake in India Index Services & Products Ltd (IISL) to NSE Strategic Investment Corp for Rs100 crore.
IISL, set up in May 1998, is the joint venture between CRISIL and National Stock Exchange (NSE) and maintains all the erstwhile indices of the Exchange and the ratings agency, like Nifty, Nifty Junior, Defty, CRISIL 500, CRISIL Midcap 200 index, CNX IT, CNX Bank, CNX MNC, CNX FMCG and CNX PSE.
“... CRISIL will be selling its equity stake in India Index Services & Products Ltd comprising 6.37 lakh shares representing 49% of the total equity share capital of IISL to NSE Strategic Investment Corporation Ltd,” the company said in a regulatory filing to the BSE.
IISL provides a broad range of services, products and professional index services. It maintains over 80equity indices comprising broad-based benchmark indices, sectoral indices and customised indices. Many investment and risk management products based on IISL indices have been developed in the recent past, within India and abroad. These include index based derivatives traded on NSE, Singapore Exchange (SGX) and Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) and a number of index funds and exchange traded funds.
CRISIL ended the day 1.24% down at Rs1,118 on the BSE while the benchmark Sensex closed Tuesday 3.2% down at 17,968.