Govt to implement NFS Bill by year-end: Thomas

New Delhi: The government today said it plans to implement the National Food Security Bill by the end of this year.

"We intend to implement the Food Security Bill by end of December, 2012," Food Minister K V Thomas told reporters on sidelines of an event organised by YES Bank and The Hindu Business Line.

He said as per the projections of the Agriculture Ministry, the government has enough foodgrains to meet the requirements of Food Bill as well as exports till 2014.

The National Food Security Bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha in December, and it is being vetted by the Parliamentary Standing Committee. The ambitious food security programme of the UPA government aims to provide legal entitlement over subsidised foodgrains to 63.5 per cent of the country`s population.

Once the new food laws are implemented, Thomas said, "The subsidy bill will go up to Rs 1.12 lakh crore. The government has capacity to absorb additional subsidy of Rs 3,000-4,000 crore".

For the current fiscal, the food subsidy is estimated to be around Rs 88,000 crore, which will go up to Rs 1.09 lakh crore with revision in 2000 census and 1993-94 poverty line estimates, he said. Foodgrain requirement under the Food Security Bill is estimated at 63 million tonne.