An expert group appointed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to examine recommendations of the Sonia Gandhi-led National Advisory Council on a draft food security law will present its findings by December-end, amid reports that it is having a tough time finding funds for the proposal, which aims to cover 75 per cent of the population in the food security net.
The NAC, which steers the UPA government's social agenda, had drafted a framework for the Food Security Bill, which was presented before the expert group on 26 November.
A meeting on food security convened by the prime minister on Tuesday took preliminary note of the proposal and decided to await firmer calculations once the C Rangarajan-headed economic advisory council (EAC) examines the NAC's plan.
The EAC has been tasked with thrashing out details of the NAC proposal.
The meeting, attended by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee, Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia, agriculture minister Sharad Pawar, and rural development minister C P Joshi, decided that it needed some more time to look at the ambitious programme, billed as the second UPA government's biggest welfare initiative.
''We are looking at the implications of the proposed provisions of the food law, such as the estimated requirement of foodgrains, annual production and how much subsidy would be required to meet the obligations. We will submit our findings by December-end,'' C Rangarajan said after the meeting. The panel will meet next on 14 December.