India OKs massive food program


India’s government has approved a vast food welfare program for the nation’s poorest as it seeks to increase its popularity before national elections next year.

“The Cabinet has unanimously approved the food security ordinance,” food minister K.V. Thomas told reporters Wednesday, adding that the measure would be sent to India’s president the same day for approval.

President Pranab Mukherjee was due to pass the long-delayed National Food Security Bill as an ordinance, meaning it would come into law immediately but must eventually be approved by Parliament. The populist program will offer subsidized grain to nearly 70 percent of the country, or more than 800 million people.