The State Government today urged the Central Government to provide Wheat flour in place of Wheat grains under National Food Security Act. The demand was made by Food Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs Minister GS. Bali while speaking in Food Ministers conference held in New Delhi today.
Bali said that there were no grinding facilities in remote, rural, backward, tribal and difficult areas of the State and the people were demanding wheat flour in place of wheat grain and added that under the National Food Security Act the State Government had to bear the expenditure of grinding wheat to provide wheat flour if the State Government wants to provide flour in place of wheat. He told that the State Government does not have sufficient funds for conversion of wheat grain into flour and demanded the reimbursement of full expenditure to the State Government in this regard.
G.S. Bali said that the State had food grain storage capacity for around 45 days only and requested the central assistance for enhancing the storage capacity of the Food Corporation of India as well as the HP State Civil Supplies Corporation so that at least three months ration requirement could be stored at a time in order to meet any eventuality due to the difficult topographic condition in the State. He said that at present the storage capacity available with the State was 55,371 Mts. and Food Corporation of India was having 34,730 Mts. He said that the Himachal Pradesh State Civil Supplies Corporation Ltd. was not in position to construct scientific warehouses for storage of huge food grains due to paucity of funds and requested the Government of India to provide grants for construction of warehouses to H.P. State Civil Supplies Corporation Ltd. and further requested to direct Food Corporation of India to increase its storage capacity in the State.
Food Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs Minister said that “Rajiv Gandhi Ann Yojna” under NFSA, 2013 had been launched by Chief Minister Shri Virbhadra Singh on 20th September, 2013 and would be implemented from 1st October, 2013 in the State.
He said that at present 100% population of the State was covered under TPDS and food grains, as per scale fixed by the Government of India were being provided to all the ration card holders through a network of 4, 762 fair price shops and thanked the Government of India for providing subsidized food grains, Kerosene Oil and LPG to the State.
G.S. Bali said that however, under NFSA, only 36,82,000 population of the State had been covered as per the Act, and added that 56.23% of the rural and 30.99% of the urban population would be entitled to get subsidized food grains and further requested that the coverage of beneficiaries may be enhanced to 75 % of rural population and 50 % of Urban population as mandated in the Act. He said that Antoday AnnYojna (AAY) and BPL households, Annapurna beneficiaries, households getting welfare pension and Tibetan permit holders were automatically included in eligible households under NFSA, which covers 26,78,804 population and rest of the beneficiaries 10,03,196 were be identified by the State for which the guidelines has been issued to the Urban Local Bodies and Gram Panchayats. He assured that the Government would complete the entire selection process by the end of October, 2013 positively.
Food Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs Minister said that delivery of food grains was upto the FPS level in the State. There were 4762 Fair Price Shops (FPS) in the State and each FPS catering to less than 1600 ration card population, he added.
He said that the State Government had signed MoU with the Government of India for implementation of end to end computerization project in the State for which a proposal to the tune of Rs. 16.67 Crore had been sent to the Government of India for grant of funds and requested to provide financial assistance to the State for implementation of e-PDS, establishment of CCTV cameras and GPS system for stopping diversion in transportation and other malpractices in TPDS.
Bali said that District Food and Civil Supplies Controllers had been designated as District Grievance Redressal Officer at District Level. The Divisional Commissioners had been designated as the State Food Commissioner who would function within their respective jurisdiction. He said that Fair Price shops were being opened at public demand as per the guidelines issued by the Government and orders of High Court of Himachal Pradesh.
He said that urban Local Bodies and Panchayati Raj Institutions had been involved in the identification of beneficiaries under the Antoday Ann Yojna (AAY) and Priority households as per notification dated 1-08-2013. They would also be involved as part of the Vigilance committees already operating in the State. Vigilance committees were already functioning under TPDS and fresh Vigilance Committees were being constituted for monitoring the distribution of food grains under NFSA he added.
G.S. Bali said that Sugar was being distributed to all ration card holders irrespective of categories. He said that Kerosene was being issued to card holders having Single Barrel Connection and non LPG holders and temporary ration card holders in non tribal areas, whereas in tribal areas all ration card holders were entitled for kerosene oil as per scale fixed by the State Government.