Union Minister of State for Food, Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution K.V. Thomas said here Saturday that the Food Security Bill was expected to be passed in the winter session of parliament in Nov-Dec.
Speaking to reporters after inaugurating the Centenary Building of National Test House (Southern Region), Thomas said a parliamentary standing committee is considering the Food Security Bill and its report is expected in a month.
He hoped that the bill would be passed into a law during the winter session of parliament.
Qureried about the production of wheat and rice, Thomas said it would be comfortable and as good as last year.
According to him paddy and wheat production last year was around 103 million tonnes and 94 million tonnes respectively.
However, he said, production of pulses and edible oils might come down and the government would continue the supply of pulses and edible oils at subsidised rates.
He said the subsidy on pusles would be Rs.20 per kg and that on edible oils would be Rs.15 per litre.
On the sugar front, Thomas said the production is expected to be around 24 million tonnes, down from 26 million tonnes produced last year.
However, he said, the domestic demand is only 22 million tonnes.
Thomas said the food grain storage capacity would be increased to 120 million tonnes by the end of this year from 75 million tonnes.
He said the central government is keen on modernising the public distribution system (PDS) starting from the godowns of Food Corporation of India (FCI) to that of ration shops in the last mile with the expenditure shared equally between the centre and the state.
Stressing the importance of modernising the PDS, Thomas said out of 20 crore ration cards in the country, nearly two crore were found to be bogus after computerisation process was initiated by a couple of states.
Queried about the export of wheat to Middle East countries including Iran, Thomas said the exports are under Open General Licence (OGL) category.
He said around 80 million tonnes of wheat is there in the central pool while the PDS requirement is only 55 million tonnes and exports would continue till it needed to be stopped.