India pushes back $20 bln food security rollout by three months

NEW DELHI Thu Jun 26, 2014 4:40pm IST

A labourer spreads wheat for drying at a wholesale grain market in Chandigarh April 13, 2014. REUTERS/Ajay Verma/Files

A labourer spreads wheat for drying at a wholesale grain market in Chandigarh April 13, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Ajay Verma/Files

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NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India has pushed back by three months the roll out of the Food Security Act that mandates selling subsidised wheat and rice to two out of three of its 1.2 billion people, the food minister said, in a blow to the plan worth nearly $20 billion.

The deadline to implement the Act was on July 5, but the inability of some states to implement it has delayed its roll out, Ram Vilas Paswan told reporters on Thursday.

The Act was pushed through last year by the previous government led by the Congress party. The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party of new Prime Minister Narendra Modi had called the welfare scheme too narrow to tackle the widespread malnutrition among India's millions of poor.

(Reporting by Krishna N Das; editing by Malini Menon)

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