Even as the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) decided to oppose the Food Security Bill on the ground that allocation of rice to Odisha will decline by 12,000 tonnes after the Bill comes into effect, the Centre on Tuesday clarified that the allocation will increase by 32,000 tonnes.
“I am afraid you are completely mistaken,” Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh said in a letter to Minister of State for Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare Minister Pratap Keshari Deb.
The Union Minister said the average annual off-take of foodgrains under the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) by Odisha has been 20.77 lakh tonnes since 2010. As against this, the annual allocation under the Food Security Bill to Odisha will be 21.09 lakh tonnes, Ramesh said and added that Odisha’s allocation will increase.
Ramesh said Odisha’s offtake of food grains has been 92.4 per cent, 97.1 per cent and 96.6 per cent respectively in 2010-11, 2011-12 and 2012-13. “The average annual offtake is under normal TPDS which consists of BPL, APL and AAY. As you are aware, it is based on norms and is not an ad hoc allocation,” he pointed out.
The Union Minister during his one-day visit to the State last week had said that Odisha’s food grain quota would increase which was rejected by Deb immediately. Deb, on the other hand, had alleged that the Union Minister was trying to mislead the people. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik also said with implementation of the Bill, the overall rice allotment to the State would go down from 1.82 lakh tonnes to 1.70 lakh tonnes.
The new Bill has a provision of five kg of foodgrain per beneficiary every month whereas presently 25 kg of rice is provided to a family per month, the Chief Minister had said and added that the small families would be affected if Bill is implemented.