State governments should display at PDS shops the foodgrain subsidy borne by both the Centre and states that will prevent the latter from hijacking the credit for selling highly-subsidised grains to the poor, Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said on Monday.
Wheat and rice are being sold through PDS (public distribution system) shops, also known as fair price or ration shops, at a highly-subsidised rate of Rs 2 and Rs 3 per kg, respectively, as per the Food Security Law.
“It is unfortunate that most states are taking credit for this even though the entire PDS foodgrain subsidy is borne by the central government. So, we have asked states to display the details at PDS shops,” Paswan told reporters.
The Centre bears a subsidy of Rs 22 on wheat and Rs 29.64 per kg on rice. “Except for one or two states like Tamil Nadu that are further subsidising it and selling it free of cost, others are not shelling out (anything) from their pocket,” he said.
Paswan further said the states have been asked to prominently display the foodgrains subsidy on a board at all ration shops for public awareness.
“More public awareness is required on this issue because for instance in Bihar the poor think that Nitish Kumar is giving foodgrains at Rs 2-3 per kg. People were not aware that the Centre was providing it,” he added.
The central government’s annual food subsidy bill is over Rs 1 lakh crore.