New Delhi | The Centre on Wednesday said it cannot provide additional wheat and rice to Kerala under the food law, asking the state government to buy grain via FCI’s Open Market Sale Scheme (OMSS) or at economic cost for supply to non-priority households.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan today met Union Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan to apprise him about the implementation of National Food Security Act in the state and to make demand for more foodgrains.
“Kerala government has demanded additional foodgrains for the non-priority households. As per the provisions of the food law, we cannot provide grains for non-priority households,” Paswan told PTI.
“We have suggested to the state government to buy foodgrains from us at an economic cost or through OMSS,” he added.
Paswan said the Centre has allocated 14.25 lakh tonnes of foodgrains annually to Kerala under the food law.
In Kerala, as many as 1.54 crore people are covered under this legislation but the state government wants more grain for 1.87 crore people under the non-priority households and about 40-50 lakh of migrant labourers, a senior food ministry official said.
Kerala government wants to supply at least 3 kg per person per month to non-priority households, the official said.
The state government seems to be interested in purchasing foodgrains under the OMSS, the official said, adding that the rates under OMSS are lower by Rs 5-7 per kg than economic cost, which is total expenditure incurred by the Centre to procure wheat and rice from farmers.
Under this scheme, the Food Corporation of India (FCI) releases wheat and rice at predetermined prices in the open market from time to time to enhance supply especially during the lean season to moderate the open market prices.
FCI undertakes sale of wheat and rice to bulk consumers/ private traders through e-auction.
The state governments and Union Territories are also allowed to participate in the e-auction, if they require wheat and rice outside public distribution system and other welfare schemes.
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