The state government wants a free hand to implement the food security ordinance to suit its local needs instead of implementing the food security ordinance of the Centre in toto.
Chief minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy will request AICC president Sonia Gandhi to give a free hand to implement the food security programme in the state during a meeting of Congress chief ministers in Delhi on July 13.
The state government was supplying around 3.3 lakh tonnes of rice every month and incurring around Rs 2,600 crore per year under ‘Mana Biyyam’ programme.
Besides, Amma Hastham scheme providing nine essential commodities is costing the government around Rs 660 crore a year.
If the state government implements the food ordinance and supplies 5 kg rice per head instead of the present 4 kg, it has to bear an additional Rs 1,800 crore on food subsidy.
“We want liberty to implement our own programme instead of implementing the Centre’s ordinance in toto. However, we will have no other option, if the ordinance is mandatory for the states,” civil supplies minister D Sridhar Babu said.
Chief minister Kiran Kumar Reddy held a review meeting with civil supplies minister and other officials on food security ordinance to present the state’s view point in Delhi on July 13.
While Congress ruled states were racing to implement the Centre’s food security ordinance, the chief minister would present that AP was the first state in the country to ensure food security to more than 80 per cent people.
As per the ordinance, food security should be provided to 75 per cent population in rural areas and 50 per cent population in urban areas. But, in Andhra Pradesh, food security was being implemented to more than 80 per cent population. The state has been implementing Mana Biyyam — `-1-a-kg-rice scheme — to around 7.5 crore population out of the total 8.53 crore population. The state would soon issue 14 lakh new white ration cards. With this, food security would be ensured to close to 90 pe cent of the population.
If the Centre wants the states to implement the ordinance as mandatory, the state had to increase the Mana Biyyam quota by another one kg.
“This will cost an additional burden of `1,800 crore on the exchequer,” officials said.