To match Insight INDIA/FRUGAL
Salesman Raj Verma pushes his bicycle ladened with Colgate products in the village of Hargaon, Uttar Pradesh August 26, 2011. REUTERS

The proposed food security bill will likely cost an annual 1 trillion rupees ($20.7 billion), the Financial Express quoted the food minister as saying, as the government looks to scale up production and storage of subsidised grain to feed more of the country's poor.

Our food subsidy bill is around 830 billion rupees. It may go up to 950 billion to 1 trillion rupees or thereabouts (under the bill), K.V. Thomas, minister for consumer affairs, food and public distribution, told the newspaper.

The government has already approved an extra 15 million tonnes of additional storage capacity to be ready by 2012/13, Thomas said in the interview.

India has agreed a draft of the National Food Security Act, which will supply grains to around 67.5 percent of its 1.2 billion population and will likely ease voter anger at inflation, but widen the country's fiscal deficit.

An election promise by the ruling Congress party, the bill will likely be introduced in parliament later this year and be approved with little opposition.