BENGALURU: It has been barely two weeks since he took charge as minister of Food and Civil Supplies, but K Gopalaiah is confident that the financial difficulties faced by the government will not affect his department. The Mahalakshmi Layout MLA doesn’t expect any jump in allocation for his ministry from the last year’s budget, but has put in a fresh proposal to build the department’s own godowns. Sharing his budget expectations with The New Indian Express, Gopalaiah said his priority is to get dues of up to Rs 1,000 crore from state and central governments.
“Our department runs on the payment of subsidy share from state and central governments. It is a not-for-profit department, and no additional allocation is made like it is done for PWD or Water Resources Department. We have sought Rs 3,700-3,800 crore just for distribution under PDS,” he said.
At present, the department uses Central Warehousing Corporation and State Warehousing Corporation godowns, apart from storage facilities hired by the Food Corporation of India to store grains across the state. “We take godowns on rent to store our supplies. The government needs to allocate funds to build our own godowns which will help us save lakhs of rupees in the long run. In Mandya on Wednesday, the district administration agreed to allot 4-5 acres land to build a godown. Wherever the government land is available, especially in high procurement regions, we want to build our own godowns,” he said.
Pointing out that the department relies on the commission fixed by the government for procurement of grains, Gopalaiah said that it is time the rates are revised. “The commission for every quintal of rice, sugar or grains supplied is fixed at Rs 35. We have sought that to be revised to Rs 50-60,” he said, sharing his wish list from the budget.
He said that the only scope for generating revenues in the ministry is under the Department of Legal Metrology, formerly known as the Department of Weights and Measures, through verification, stamping fees and compounding fees. The department has to depend on allocation of funds from the government and timely payment of dues to manage its activities, he said.