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Odisha’s food security programme to cover 34 lakh beneficiaries left out of national scheme

Nearly 34.44 lakh poor people in Odisha were excluded from the national scheme that was implemented as per the socio-economic caste census in 2011.

india Updated: Jul 29, 2018 09:08 IST
Debabrata Mohanty
Debabrata Mohanty
Hindustan Times, Bhubaneswar
Odisha,Odisha food security,Naveen Patnaik
In a video message on Saturday, Patnaik said once the scheme is launched, not a single poor here will be deprived of his rights.(PTI File Photo)

With an eye on polls next year, the Naveen Patnaik government in Odisha has planned to roll out its own food security scheme from October 2 this year, giving subsidised ration to 34.44 lakh beneficiaries, who were left out from the National Food Security Act.

In a video message on Saturday, Patnaik said once the scheme is launched, not a single poor here will be deprived of his rights.

“I have always given importance on food security of the poor people. We have been providing rice at Rs 2 per kg since 2008. Success of the programme had prompted the state government to launch rice at Re 1 per kg scheme for all needy people in 2013,” he said.

Nearly 34.44 lakh poor people in Odisha were excluded from the national scheme that was implemented as per the socio-economic caste census in 2011. These people were ineligible as they came under nine exclusion criteria, including persons having four wheelers or two three wheelers, persons with electric consumption above 300 units, persons having tractors, power-tillers, fishing boats or other heavy vehicles.

In Odisha, an estimated 3.26 crore people of the 4.19 core population or 78% are covered under the NFSA that was launched in 2015, informed Patnaik.

Food supplies and consumer welfare secretary VV Yadav said the state would tweak the Odisha Food Security Rules, 2017, to add the 34.44 lakh new beneficiaries.

“There are provisions in the rules which empowers the state to expand the scope of coverage,” he said.

With Odisha’s population growth touching 14% in the last decade, officials said the state’s total population had touched 4.62 crore in 2018.

“Allowing the same percentage of coverage as was decided when the Act came into force, then we have to cover 3.6 crore beneficiaries under the NFSA,” Patnaik wrote to PM Narendra Modi in March this year.

Congress leader Sarat Rout described the scheme as political gimmick while BJP leader Golak Mohapatra said the new scheme was not necessary as the state government failed to provide NFSA cards to eligible beneficiaries in the state.

The BJD in its manifesto for 2014 polls, had talked about a state-specific food security act in which BPL households would not be the only criteria for availing food security benefits. It had talked of making the coverage inclusive and holistic.

First Published: Jul 28, 2018 17:56 IST