India Targets Hunger with Subsidy Plan

Posted December 19th, 2011 at 6:55 am (UTC-5)
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India's cabinet has approved a landmark measure that would provide subsidized food to hundreds of millions of people.

The Food Security Bill, approved by the cabinet Sunday, still needs parliamentary approval. It is expected to be presented to parliament before the current session ends.

The proposal would provide subsidized grain to 75 percent of India's rural population and 50 percent of its urban population.

The legislation would increase the government's annual food subsidy costs by more than $5 billion.

The food bill would guarantee a monthly supply of up to seven kilos of grain per household.

High food costs have recently jeopardized the food security of millions of Indians.

Critics of the bill say India can not afford such a costly program at a time when its economic growth has slowed.

Current food subsidies have been marked by rampant corruption, with little of the food reaching the intended groups.