Himachal seeks wheat flour under FSA
The Himachal Pradesh government on Monday requested the central government to provide wheat flour in place of wheat grains under the Food Security Act (FSA), here.
The demand was made by Himachal food civil supplies and consumer affairs minister G S Bali while speaking in the food ministers conference organized here on Monday .
Bali said that there is no grinding facilities in remote rural, backward, tribal and difficult areas of the state and the people are demanding wheat flour in place of wheat grain.
He further added that under the food safety act the state government has to bear the expenditure of grinding wheat to provide wheat flour if any state government wants to provide flour in place of wheat.
He noted that the Himachal government does not have sufficient funds for conversion of wheat grain into flour and demanded the reimbursement of the full expenditure to the state in this regard.
Bali said that the state has the food grain storage capacity of around 45 days only and requested the central assistance for enhancing the storage capacity of the Food Corporation of India as well as the HP State Civil Supplies Corporation so that at least 3 months ration requirement could be stored at a time in order to meet any eventuality due to the difficult topographic condition of this state.
He said that at present the storage capacity available with the state is 55,371 MTs and Food Corporation of India is having 34,730 MTs.
He said that the State Agency i.e., H.P. State Civil Supplies Corporation Ltd., Is not in a position to construct scientific warehouses for storage of huge foodgrains due to paucity of funds and requested the center to provide grants for the construction of warehouses to H.P. State Civil Supplies Corporation Ltd and further requested to direct the Food Corporation of India to increase its storage capacity in the state.
The food civil supplies and consumer affairs minister said that in Himachal Pradesh, 'Rajiv Gandhi Anna Yojna' under NFSA 2013 has been inaugurated by Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh on Sept 20 and will be implemented from Oct 1.
He said that presently 100 percent of the population of the state is covered under TPDS and foodgrains, as per scale fixed by the central government, being provided to all the ration card holders through a network of 4, 762 fair price shops.
The minister also thanked the government for providing subsidized foodgrains, kerosene oil and LPG to the state.
Bali said, "Under the NFSA only 36,82,000 population of the state has been covered as per the Act."
"56.23 percent of the rural and 30.99 percent of the urban population will be entitled to get subsidized foodgrains and further requested that the coverage of beneficiaries may be enhanced to 75 percent of the rural population and 50 percent of urban population as mandated in the Act," he added.
He said, "AAY and BPL households, Annapurna beneficiaries, households getting welfare pension and Tibetan permit holders are automatically included in eligible households under NFSA which covers 26,78,804 population and rest of the beneficiaries 10,03,196 are to be identified by the state for which the guidelines has been issued to the urban local bodies and gram panchayats."
Bali assured that the state government shall complete the entire selection process by the end of October 2013 positively.
"In Himachal, delivery of foodgrains is up to the FPS level. There are 4762 FPS in the state, each FPS catering to less than 1600 ration card population," he said.
He said that the state government has signed MOU with the central government for implementation of end to end computerization project in the state for which a proposal to the tune of Rs. 16.67 crore has been sent to the center for grant of funds and requested to provide financial assistance to the state for implementation of e-PDS, establishment of CCTV cameras and GPS system for stopping diversion in transportation and other malpractices in TPDS.
He said, "District Food and Civil Supplies Controllers have been designated as District Grievance Redressal Officer at district level."
"The Divisional Commissioners have been designated as the state food commissioner who shall function within their respective jurisdiction."
He said that fair price shops are being opened on public demand as per the guidelines issued by the government and High Court orders.
The Minister added that urban local bodies and panchayati raj institutions have been involved in the identification of beneficiaries under the AAY and priority households as per notification dated August 1, 2013.
"They shall also be involved as part of the vigilance committee already operating in the state," Bali noted.
"Vigilance committees are already functioning under TPDS and fresh Vigilance Committees are being constituted for monitoring the distribution of food grains under NFSA," he added.
Bali said said that sugar is being distributed to all ration card holders irrespective of categories.
"Kerosene is being issued to card holders having single barrel connection and non LPG holders and temporary ration card holders in non tribal areas, whereas in tribal areas all ration card holders are entitled for kerosene oil as per scale fixed by the state government," he added.
(Posted on 01-10-2013)