The Centre is very keen that the benefit of National Food Security Act (NFSA) reach all the beneficiaries effectively, Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution, Ram Vilas Paswan said while speaking on the occasion of ‘Khadya Suraksha Panchayat’ in Patna.
About 8.71 crore people have been covered as beneficiaries in the State under the Act. On the receipt of data of about 7.61 crore beneficiaries from the State , about 4.1 lakh tonnes foodgrains are being provided by the Centre monthly. The Centre expect the State Government will provide data of remaining beneficiaries soon so that they also get benefit of subsidised foodgrains.
Addressing the media after the open discussion, Paswan said that his ministry is pursuing the Bihar Government to implement the NFSA (National Food Security Act) effectively and a number of communications have been sent to the State Government to complete all the remaining work for this purpose.
He said that all the beneficiaries are yet to be issued fresh ration cards to avail subsidised foodgrain under the Act. Still a number of the eligible beneficiaries are not getting their food quota due to poor delivery mechanism, "Out of the 8.71 crore beneficiaries in Bihar (85 percent in rural areas and 74 percent in urban area) under the Food Security Act, about 1.11 crore people have not been issued fresh ration cards for availing their food quota at subsidised rate of Rs two per kg wheat and Rs three per kg rice, even after rolling out of the Food Act in March 2014 in Bihar”, Paswan said.
He said that National Informatics Centre has urged the State Government to upload the details of remaining beneficiaries on PDS portal which is still awaited. Meanwhile State has reported 49.74 lakh additional beneficiaries, however, they can get subsidised foodgrains under the Act only after their details are also uploaded on PDS portal by the State.
Paswan said that the Centre is very keen to make the PDS system more transparent in the Bihar by implementing end to end computerisation. Financial assistance of Rs 17.89 crore was provided to the State in 2013-2014.
He asserted that Food Corporation of India (FCI) has sufficient stockpile of foodgrains to meet Bihar’s requirement.