The government Thursday tabled in the Lok Sabha a landmark bill that seeks to provide cheaper foodgrain to over half of India's 1.2 billion population and ensure that people "live a life with dignity".

Food Minister K.V. Thomas introduced the National Food Security Bill, 2011, "to provide for food and nutritional security by ensuring access to adequate quantity of quality food at affordable prices".

Thomas said that the bill will ensure people of India get "to live a life with dignity".

The union cabinet, headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Sunday approved the bill, a pet project of Congress president Sonia Gandhi-led National Advisory Council (NAC). 

It promises 75 percent of rural population and 50 percent of urban households the right to 7 kg foodgrains per person per month, at Rs.3 per kg for rice, Rs.2 per kg for wheat and Rs.1 per kg for coarse grains to the priority beneficiaries.

It will also provide rations or cooked meals to children under 14 years of age and destitutes, including women and persons on the margins of society.