New Delhi | A whopping Rs 1.4 lakh crore will be spend annually to provide highly subsidised wheat and rice to 80 crore people as the National Food Security law extended its coverage to the entire country starting this month.
The landmark food law, passed by Parliament in 2013, got extended to the entire country after the two remaining states, Kerala and Tamil Nadu, decided to implement it from November.
“When we came to power, food law was being implemented in only 11 states. I am happy to share that Food Security law is being implemented in all states and union territories,” Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan said at a press conference here.
Under the law the government provides 5 kg of highly subsidised foodgrains per person, per month at Rs 1-3 per kg.
Wheat is being supplied at Rs 2/kg and rice at Rs 3/kg.
The subsidy outgo, Paswan said, “will be Rs 11,726 crore per month or about Rs 1,40,700 crore annually.”
He added: “Foodgrains have been allocated to all 36 states and UTs. At the current coverage, the monthly allocation of foodgrains is about 45.5 lakh tonnes.”
The legal entitlement to receive foodgrains under the Act now extends to about 80 crore persons against the total intended coverage of 81.34 crore persons, Paswan said.
Governments of Kerala and Tamil Nadu took the decision to implement the law after the Centre took hard decision to supply grains to these two states at MSP rates for APL families, he said.
Paswan said the government has so far linked 71 per cent of the ration cards with Aadhaar card and the rest would be done at the earliest. This has resulted in deletion of about 2.62 crore bogus ration cards.
“The grains are being delivered to dealers at their door steps. Dealer margins have been increased. We are doing end-to-end computerisation,” Paswan said.
Fair price shops are being automated for distribution of foodgrains through an electronic point of sale (e-PoS) device that authenticates beneficiaries at the time of distribution and also electronically captures the quantity supplied.
“As of October 31, e-PoS devices are operational in 1,61,854 fair price shops,” he said.
The Centre is providing financial assistance for meeting expenditure of inter-state transportation and handling of foodgrains and dealers margin.
As the Centre is bearing the entire subsidy burden, Paswan asked states not to take credit for supplying foodgrains to masses.
“The assistance for fair price shops dealer margin also contains a component of assistance for installation and operation of PoS devices. So far, Rs 1,874 crore has been released to States in 2016-17,” Paswan said.