HYDERABAD: Though Telangana happens to be among the few states which have implemented the central government’s Food Security Act (FSA) fully, its plea for additional quota of rice has not been answered by the central government till now.
The Centre, which directed the states to implement the FSA, did not bother to consider the concerns of states like Telangana which have implemented the FSA.
The state government is providing subsidised rice through public distribution system (PDS) to around 2.82 crore of the state’s 3.61 crore population. But, as per FSA norms, only 1.90 crore people are eligible for PDS rice. The remaining 92 lakh people are being supplied the subsidised rice by the state government. This has placed an additional burden on the state government.
After the formation of Telangana state, finance and civil supplies minister E.Rajender appealed to the central government to support the state by giving additional quota of rice.
As per FSA norms, the Centre directed the states to supply only 5 kg of rice per head per month but the state government is providing 6 kg per head without a cap on maximum quota. If there are ten members in a family, the government is supplying 60 kg. The Centre supplies rice at Rs 3 a kilo but the state government is providing rice at Re 1 a kilo through PDS. The difference in quantity and price beyond FSA is adding to the financial burden of the state government.
Despite repeated pleas by the state government, the central government has not looked into the state’s demands so far.
“I have submitted representations six times to support the state in implementing the FSA. I have met Union minister of consumer affairs, food and public distribution Ram Vilas Paswan thrice. But there has been no response so far,” finance and civil supplies minister E.Rajender told Express on Monday.
Rajender said a survey to estimate the number of people living below poverty line (BPL) was undertaken in the combined AP state. “I have urged the Centre to conduct a resurvey with specific reference to Telangana state to determine the number of BPL families,” he said.
“If conducting the survey in TS is not possible, the central government should at least supply an additional quota of one lakh tonnes of rice per month but the Centre did not agree to supply one lakh tonnes of rice,” Rajender explained.