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HindustanTimes Sat,23 Aug 2014

MP to save Rs. 840 cr on subsidy

Rahul Noronha, Hindustan Times  Bhopal, August 21, 2013
First Published: 10:40 IST(21/8/2013) | Last Updated: 13:00 IST(21/8/2013)

With the rollout of the food security ordinance in the state from October 1, the Madhya Pradesh government would end up saving about Rs. 840 crore which it is presently spending in running the subsidized food programmes.

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However, unlike other states that would continue to spend large amounts of money from their own coffers to further subsidize food programmes, Madhya Pradesh has no plans to spend any of this fund to expand the scope of subsidized food programmes as has been done by a number of states.

As per a study, in 2013-14, a total of 14 states are spending about Rs. 16,412 crore on food security programmes.

Chhattisgarh, whose food security act is said to be precursor to the national law has put aside Rs. 2000 crore for giving gram at Rs. 5 per kg and dal at Rs. 10 per kg to its residents. Tamil Nadu has budgeted Rs. 4900 crore for free rice, up to 20 kg per family, Karnataka has set aside Rs. 460 crore and AP has provided for Rs. 2600 crore for a subsidized rice scheme.

Besides these, Punjab has provided for Rs. 350 crore for a similar scheme, Rajasthan another Rs. 550 crore, Orissa Rs. 1315 crore, Kerala Rs. 760 crore and Uttar Pradesh has provided Rs. 901 crore in its budget for subsidized food schemes.

In Madhya Pradesh, 37% of the population is recognised by the GoI as poor for which foodgrains are provided at Rs. 5 per kg for wheat while Rs. 6.5 per kg for rice.

The state government after it launched the CM Annapurna scheme from June 1 that covers almost 50% of the population provides for wheat at Re 1 per kg, rice at Rs. 2 per kg and salt at Re 1 per kg.

The state government bears an expenditure of Rs. 840 crore in funding the difference.

The state government would save this amount once it rolls out the food security ordinance from October 1.

While other states continue to spend from their own coffers to expand the scope of the food subsidies by further subsidizing or expanding the scope, the MP government has no such plans.

When asked why the state government could not expand the scope with the amount it saves and add say dal or oil as done by other states, MP minister for food and civil supplies Paras Jain said, “There is a lot of corruption in oil and dals. We already have to fund the amount we are losing because of sugar.”

Advisor to the Supreme Court appointed commissioner on food security act, Sachin Jain told HT, “The state government should expand the scope by including more food items with the amount they would save. The government claims that wheat production in the state got a fillip when the state started buying at good prices. Likewise, they should buy dals which would also give a fillip to dal production in the state.”


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