India's 2013/14 total food subsidy at 1.3 trln rupees-minister

Last Updated: Tue, Mar 19, 2013 12:30 hrs

NEW DELHI, March 19 (Reuters) - India's total food subsidy is seen at 1.3 trillion rupees ($23.98 billion) to cover expenditure for its Food Security Bill which aims to expand cheap food provision for the poor, Food Minister K.V. Thomas said on Tuesday.

However, the amendments to the bill approved by cabinet on Tuesday and seen by Reuters say the estimated food subsidy is about 1.25 trillion rupees.

The federal budget puts spending on food subsidies for 2013/14 at 900 billion rupees and Finance Minister P. Chidambaram said in his speech announcing the budget on Feb. 28 he would set aside an extra 100 billion rupees for the bill.

The Food Security bill will now go to parliament for discussion this week, the minister added.

($1 = 54.2050 Indian rupees) (Reporting by Ratnajyoti Duttal; Editing by Jo Winterbottom)

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