CHENNAI: Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on Tuesday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to extend the process of implementation of National Food Security Act in Tamil Nadu by at least one year and in the meantime address the state's legitimate concerns about it.
"The level of allocation of food grains for Tamil Nadu should be maintained unchanged at the present level and at the present issue prices. This allocation includes 65,262 MT per month for Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) families, 1,04,936 MT per month for BPL families and 1,26,255 MT per month for APL families. I also request that the additional allocation of 27,969 MT of rice and 3,108 MT of wheat per month at BPL rates being provided since April, 2015, may also continue to be supplied for a further period of one year", she said.
She asked the Centre to provide a legally binding assurance on the issue price of food grains for the additional assured quantity provided for those States which are already drawing food grains over and above the guaranteed quantity under the Act (tide over allocation). Such additional quantities should continue to be supplied to the States at Rs 3 per kg.
"Preferably, the entire urban population should be covered as households eligible for allocation of subsidized food grains. Alternatively, at least 75 percent of the urban population should be covered as in the rural areas. The guarantee of supply of subsidised food grains with an assured level of subsidy from the Government of India under Schedule I of the Act should be extended from the present 3 years to a period of at least 10 years", the Chief Minister said.
She said a provision making it obligatory for the Centre to import food in times of scarcity was very crucial to ensure this legislation truly a Food Security Act. The “Provisioning of Funds to State Governments for Short Supply of Food grains Rules, 2014” is not an adequate safeguard for the interests of Tamil Nadu.
"The extended time period up to 30.9.2015 to complete identification of eligible households is not a realistic time frame, particularly as the district-wise break up data under the Socio Economic Caste Census (SECC) is yet to be made available. Hence, at least 2 years time must be provided. The provision in the Act empowering the Central Government to introduce cash transfer and food coupon schemes must be amended with a clear indication that any cash transfer scheme can be introduced only with the concurrence of the State Government," she said.