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‘With TN, Kerala in, food law goes nation-wide’

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on January 15, 2018 Published on November 03, 2016

Ram Vilas Paswan

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With Kerala and Tamil Nadu also deciding to roll out the National Food Security Act (NFSA), the law is now being implemented across the country, entailing an annual subsidy of over Rs 1.4 lakh crore, Minister for Food & Public Distribution Ram Vilas Paswan said here on Thursday.

“The legal entitlement to receive highly subsidised foodgrains under the Act (wheat at Rs 2/ kg and rice at Rs 3/kg) now extends to about 80 crore persons against the total intended coverage of 81.34 crore persons under the Act,” Paswan said at a press conference.

Paswan said the governments of Kerala and Tamil Nadu decided to implement the law after the Centre took a ‘hard decision’ to supply grains to these two States at minimum support prices for Above Poverty Line families.

Under the Act, passed by Parliament in 2013, the government provides 5 kg of subsidised foodgrains per person per month at Rs 1-3/kg.

Highlighting the government’s achievements, Paswan said: “When we came to power, the food law was being implemented in only 11 states. I am happy to share that the National Food Security law is being implemented in all 36 states and Union Territories.”

The Minister said the Centre would now focus on further reforms in the public distribution system (PDS), which will include end-to-end computerisation to check leakages and diversion of foodgrains, adding that after depots had been made online, foodgrain losses of the Food Corporation of India had been brought down to 0.04 per cent.

Apart from other measures for the smooth operation of PDS, the Centre is also providing assistance to state governments to meet expenditure of intra-State transportation and handling of foodgrains and fair price shop dealers’ margin.

“So far, Rs 1,874 crore has been released to state governments by the Government of India in 2016-17,” he said.

On sugarcane arrears, Paswan said the 2014-15 arrears, which stood at Rs 21,000 crore at the peak, have now come down to Rs 205 crore.

Prices of pulses, except chana, have also come down, the Minister said, adding that to contain rising wheat prices, the Centre had decided to release an additional 10 lakh tonnes in the domestic market under the FCI open market scheme.

Published on November 03, 2016
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