At the daylong conference of State Food Ministers from across the country held in New Delhi today, Odisha’s Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare Minister Sanjay kumar Dasburma demanded more support for the state from the union government in order to implement the National Food Security Act with true letter and spirit.
The Centre has called a meeting of all the state food ministers to chalk out a strategy to jointly tackle the crisis of possible deficient rains this year and ways to control unreasonable increase in prices of some commodities like pulses.
Dasburma said, “Past six months has seen a steady rise in the prices of essential commodities like pulses, edible oils and onion. However, the prices of cereals like rice and wheat and potato has remained steady. Odisha being a consuming state gets most of its requirement for pulses & edible oils from other states. However, the prevailing trend of market prices in Odisha is similar to the overall price trend at the national level.”
The Minister further said, “As regards to implementation of National Food Security Act, 2013 in the State, my Government is committed to implement the Act by the dateline of 30th September 2015 as fixed by Government of India.”
However, the minister pointed out that, Food security Act envisages allocation of food grains at the rate of 5 kg per person per month for priority households. But it also covers Antyodaya Anna Yojana households who will continue to get allocation of 35 kgs per family every month. The Number of Priority household’s members are to be calculated by deducting the Number of Antyodaya Anna Yojana household’s members from the total population to be covered under the Act.
Government of India has taken the average AAY family size at 5 and has calculated the State’s entitlement under the Act. However, as per actual enumeration taken up during beneficiary identification under the National Food Security Act’2013, the average members per AAY family is 3.79.
By Government of India’ formula, the State’s entitlement under the Act has reduced by 1.21×12.645lakh; i.e15.3 lakh beneficiaries or 7650 MT of grains per month. There are AAY families with just one member or two members which is bringing down the average family size. Hence, the Minister requested the Government of India to use the average size of family as per actual enumeration to determine the State’s entitlements under the Act as it is the reality.
Similarly, in case of supply of Rice for SC/ST hostel boarders, the Government of India is allocating rice at BPL rates @15 kg per month for about 66,000 boarders of SC/ST Hostels run by Government of Odisha. However, for last 5-6 years, the number of SC/ST Hostel boarders run by Government has increased to 4.73 lakh. The state government is meeting the extra requirement of rice from the State pool and thereby incurring an expenditure of Rs. 180 Crores per annum. Hence the minister requested the Government of India to increase the coverage under the scheme to cover 4.73 lakh boarders of SC/ST Hostels run by the State Government.
Both Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan and Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh along with many dignitaries attended the conference.