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Centre issues ultimatum to Kerala, Tamil Nadu for implementing NFSA

Friday, Sep 16, 2016,16:40 IST By metrovaartha A A A

New Delhi | The Centre warned Kerala and Tamil Nadu that foodgrains for distribution to above poverty line (APL) families would be provided at a higher rate to the states if they fail to implement the National Food Security Act (NFSA) at the earliest.

Other 34 NFSA implementing states and Union Territories have been asked to address gaps in the list of beneficiaries, computerisation of PDS operation, Aadhar linkage with ration cards and grievance redressal mechanism.

NFSA, passed by the Parliament in September 2013 during UPA regime, aims to abolish the APL and below poverty line (BPL) criteria and uniformly provides 5 kg of wheat or rice to all beneficiaries every month at subsidised rate of Rs 1-3 per per kg.

“Kerala and Tamil Nadu are the only two states left where the NFSA has not been implemented yet. Despite being developed states, I don’t understand why they are not doing it,” Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said addressing a two-day national conference on PDS reforms.

The Kerala government had earlier said it would implement the NFSA from November but now the state is planning to do it from December. “Kerala says it does not have necessary infrastructure. I don’t understand if a developed state like Kerala says like this,” he said.

“If the two states do not implement, we will take stringent action. One option we have is to supply APL foodgrains to them at a higher rate or we completely stop the allocation. Let them buy foodgrains for APL families at the support price,” he warned.

Asking the states to speed up reforms in public distribution system (PDS) to curb leakage of foodgrains, Paswan said there could be problems in putting up necessary infrastructure for effective roll out of NFSA but those issues need to be sorted by both the Centre and states.

While the ration cards have been digitised 100 per cent in the country, states are slow in seeding them with Aadhar card, which would help in eliminating bogus beneficiaries, he said, and urged the states to fasten the process.