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‘Not aware of pending food subsidy bill’: Union Minister Ashwini Choubey refutes Odisha government claim

On CM Naveen Patnaik drawing attention of the Centre to clear the bill, Ashwini Choubey said it might be an old issue.
 

Published: 08th October 2021 09:42 AM  |   Last Updated: 08th October 2021 09:42 AM   |  A+A-

Union Minister Ashwini Choubey. (Photo | Twitter)

By Express News Service

BHUBANESWAR: Union Minister of State for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Ashwini Kumar Choubey on Thursday, October 7, 2021, said he has no information about the pending food subsidy bill with the Food Corporation of India (FCI) as claimed by the State government.

Choubey who attended ‘Seva aur Samarpan’ programme at Puri, a public outreach programme to mark the 71st birthday of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his 20 years in public life, said he took a review meeting with senior officers of FCI in Odisha on paddy procurement and food grain distribution under different Central schemes.

Ashwini Choubey

“I had invited the Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare Minister and senior officers of the department to the meeting but no one attended. I am not aware of the pending food subsidy bill as no one flagged the issue during the discussion,” the Union Minister said. When pointed out that Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has been repeatedly drawing the attention of the Centre to clear the pending bill and timely payment of advance subsidy, Choubey said this may be an old issue.

A delegation of BJD MPs had met Union Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Procurement Piyush Goyal during the monsoon session of the Parliament in July and demanded payment of the pending food subsidy to Odisha. In a memorandum to Goyal, the BJD claimed that the Centre has been delaying the release of pending subsidy of Odisha to the tune of Rs 6081.45 crore accumulating over the years since 2003-04 despite repeated reminders. 

Odisha State Civil Supplies Corporation (OSCSC), the major procuring agency of the State government, is yet to receive subsidy and advance subsidy. As a result, the State PSU has incurred additional interest of around Rs 4883.55 crore, it added.

Choubey, however, said the State government is cooperating with the Central government in the implementation of all welfare schemes including the ‘One Nation One Ration’. Responding to a query on the rising inflation hitting all sections of the consumers hard, Choubey said the Modi government has duly addressed the issue by launching a Rs 20 lakh crore Atma Nirbhar Bharat package. 

“Inflation is not only India specific. This is a worldwide phenomenon. The Covid-19 pandemic has shattered the global economy and all the nations are struggling to cope with the situation,” he said.



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