BHUBANESWAR: Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and senior leader Biswa Bhusan Harichandan on Monday slammed Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik for claiming that his Government had to launch its own food security scheme to cover an additional beneficiaries of 30 lakh poor people ‘left out’ of the National Food Security Act (NFSA).
Launching an attack on the Chief Minister’s social media campaign against the Centre’s neglect towards the State, Pradhan said the list of additional beneficiaries as claimed by the former is neither available with the State Government nor provided to the Centre.
Of 4.19 crore population of Odisha as per the 2011 Census, over 3.26 crore people or 78 per cent have been availing the benefits of NFSA. The Centre has been bearing major cost of the programme which is around `6,000 crore per annum.
While the BJP-led Central Government is contributing `29 per kg of subsidised rice, the State Government’s share is only `2 while the beneficiary contribution is `1, he said.Disputing the Chief Minister’s claim of assisting an additional 30 lakh poor people under the State Food Security Scheme, Pradhan said the official figure as provided to the Assembly is 23 lakh.
Referring to the recent letter of Odisha State Food Commission to the Government, Pradhan said the statutory body had expressed displeasure over keeping about 6 lakh eligible people out of the ambit of the food security programme.
Alleging that a majority of the additional beneficiaries belong to BJD, Pradhan said the State Government has been incurring an additional expenditure of `80 to `85 crore for its own food security programme.
In a series of tweets, the Chief Minister has blasted the Centre for neglecting Odisha. One of his tweets said, “We sought Central assistance for our “Aahar” scheme but the Centre refused to cooperate. We have been keeping the scheme afloat on our own.”
“Is it justified for the Centre not to accept our demand for more rice for additional 30 lakh poor people?,” asked the Chief Minister.
As the BJD Government had built up an image that the `1 per kg rice for below poverty line (BPL) families was its own scheme, the BJP demolished the idea by successfully launching a campaign since 2015 forcing the State Government to admit that the food security programme is Central scheme in which the State’s financial contribution is negligible.
Only 3.26 crore out of 4.19 crore people of Odisha availing benefits of NFSA
The Centre bearing `6,000 crore per annum for the programme
Centre contributing `29 per kg of subsidised rice, while State’s share is `2 and beneficiary share `1