HP to take up shortfall in grain supply with Centre
The Himachal government said Wednesday it would take up the issue of shortfall in foodgrains supplied to the state under the National Food Security Act with the central government on May 29. It said only 15, 496 metric tonnes of grain have been supplied this year against a requirement of 18, 587 tonnes, and a gap of 3,091 tonnes.
The National Food Security Act, a keystone of the previous Congress party led UPA government, was rolled out in Himachal on September 2013 as the 'Rajiv Gandhi Ann Yojana'. Under the scheme about 27 lakh state residents in the "below poverty line" and "Antyodaya" categories were automatically covered.
Besides, the state government devised a mechanism to cover other families under the Act through local bodies. On the basis of certain parameters about 600,000 other residents were also eligible for the benefits.
A government official, requesting anonymity, said the central government had not paid heed to the several requests made by state in this regard.
An estimated 3.29 million state residents are presently covered under the scheme including about 2.7 million people in the "below poverty line: category and Antyodaya Ann Yojana beneficiaries. The total supply of foodgrains from the central government is pegged at 15,496 metric tonnes (9,101 tonnes of wheat and 6,315 tonnes of rice). To provide foodgrains to all 3.29 million residents the state needs 18,587 tonnes of grains including 10,957 tonnes of rice and 7,631 tonnes of wheat.
Calling it "miscommunication", government officials said the central government was only supplying foodgrains for around 2.7 million people who were automatically covered under the scheme while the state government was providing grains for the remaining 600,000 people.
Food & civil supply minister GS Bali said he would take up the matter with food minister Ram Vilas Paswan in New Delhi on May 29. "I've been raising this issue with the central government time and again but so far nothing concrete has been done. However, there is no reduction in supply of foodgrains to needy families though this might happen in the future," he added.
After a committee set up by the prime minister and headed by former Himachal chief minister Shanta Kumar submitted its report suggesting the state government should reduce coverage under the National Food Security Act from 67% to 40% of the population, the Congress party led government had been accusing the previous BJP regime of scrapping the food security scheme.
Beneficiaries under NFSA: 32.90lakh
Grain supplied from Centre: 15496MT
(Rice: 6315MT; Wheat: 9101MT)
Grain required: 18587 MT
(Rice: 7631; Wheat: 10957)