Union Rural Development Minster Jairam Ramesh and Minister of State for Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare Pratap Keshari Deb seem to have engaged in a wordy duel over supply of food grains to the State under the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS).
In his reply to Ramesh on Wednesday, Deb said the present allocation of food grains under TPDS to the State, taking into consideration BPL, KBK, APL, AAY and APL schemes, is 21.89 lakh tonnes per annum. But the Centre is claiming the annual average off-take since 2010 is 20.77 lakh tonnes.
“Thus the proposed allocation (to Odisha) under Centre’s National Food Security Ordinance (NFSO), 2013 at 21.09 lakh tonnes per annum is less than the present allocation of 21.89 lakh tonnes and it indicates that Odisha will be a net loser in the new regime of NFSO 2013,” Deb said.
Deb further said the Centre has been allocating 38,431 MT of wheat every month for the APL ration card holders in the State. Since the demand of wheat among these families in rural belt is negligible, the wheat off-take is less than 80 per cent, which is pulling down the overall off-take of food grains of the State, he said.
The duel between the two ensued after the Union minister, during his recent visit to the State, said Odisha’s off-take of food grains has been 92.4, 97.1 and 96.6 per cent respectively in 2010-11, 2011-12 and 2012-13.
Deb, on the other hand, had promptly countered that Ramesh was trying to mislead the people of Odisha while highlighting the Food Security Bill, 2013.