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Food security bill must address poor’s need
New Delhi, June 14 (IANS):
Published on 14 Jun. 2010 11:29 PM IST
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Issues like nutrition and welfare of disadvantaged sections are likely to be in focus when the National Advisory Council discusses the food security bill in its next meeting July 1, a member of the council said Monday.
“The welfare of the deprived sections needs to be addressed in the bill,” NAC member and social activist Harsh Mander said Monday.
Headed by United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi, the recently reconstituted NAC held its maiden meeting June 10. The council is expected to play a critical role in formulation of the food security bill.
The council, in its last term has the credit of largely contributing to the formulation of the Right to Information (RTI) Act and the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA).
“The food security bill has to be taken in a larger perspective. Malnutrition is a very critical issue which needs to be addressed,” Mander told IANS.
“Nutrition needs of deprived groups like the migrant labourers, below poverty line population and other such groups should should be addressed. We will try to focus that these issues are addressed properly,” he said. Asked about probable solutions to address nutrition concerns, Mander said large scale programmes to provide balanced diet to the poor at low rates is needed.
“We can have programmes similar to langar system which can give balanced diet at very cheap rates,” he said.
Fuel prices, inflation to fall in 6 months
On a day India’s annual rate of inflation climbed to double-digit level, Chief Economic Advisor Kaushik Basu Monday said he favoured freeing the prices of petroleum fuels and that its impact will even out within six months.
“My belief is that fuel prices ought to be decontrolled. I feel that a certain amount of decontrol ought to be done,” Basu, whose inputs help the finance ministry in framing policies, told reporters during an interaction here.
“The inflation figure you are looking at may increase in the short-term. But six months down the line, you will see lower inflation due to lower fiscal deficit,” said the former professor, who has a doctorate from the London School of Economics.
His remarks came on a day when official data on wholesale price index showed that the country’s annual inflation rate for May had jumped to double digit at 10.16 percent in May from 9.59 percent in April, due mainly to higher food and fuel prices.
Data released by the commerce and industry ministry showed that prices of food articles rose 16.49 percent last month, against 16.87 percent in April, while that for fuels moved up 13.05 percent in the month under review.
Prices of primary articles went up by 16.6 percent, a sharper increase from the 13.88 percent in April, signalling that inflation was getting increasingly broad-based. Manufactured products were dearer by 6.41 percent.
The latest food inflation figures also show that respite is not in sight at least for some more time as prices of food articles had gone up by 16.74 percent for the week ended May 29.

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