JAMMU, Feb 22: Governor N N Vohra reviewed the implementation of National Food Security Act, in a meeting held at Raj Bhavan today and directed the Chief Secretary to ensure that there was no shortage of food grains in any part of the State while implementing NFSA.
The meeting was attended by B. R. Sharma, Chief Secretary and Saurabh Bhagat, Secretary, CAPD.
The Governor was informed that before implementation of NFSA, 18.02 lakh ration ticket holders comprising 99 lakh souls were covered under the Public Distribution System on the basis of population as it stood in 2000. With the implementation of NFSA, 26 lakh ration ticket holders with 119.5 lakh souls will get covered as per 2011 census population, with a resultant net increase of 20 lakh souls.
Secretary CAPD informed that under NFSA only the relatively well to do families are getting excluded and the resultant saving of ration on this account will now be specifically utilized to cover only the genuine and more needy beneficiaries at highly subsidized rates. The implementation of the Act would help in plugging the pilferage of large quantities of food grains which were hitherto unlawfully traded by the vested interests.
Under the NFSA 74.13 lakh beneficiaries will now receive 5 Kg rice @ Rs.3/- or 5 Kg wheat @ Rs.2/- per kg, as a matter of right. Food grains for the remaining 45 lakh souls will continue to be available @ Rs.10/- per kg of rice and Rs.8/- per kg of wheat. Thus, effectively, 20 lakh more souls will now get covered under the Public Distribution System after the implementation of NFSA.
The Governor directed that the process of distribution of food grains should be expedited to ensure timely availability of ration to all beneficiaries over the next one week. Secretary CAPD informed that as against 10,27,639 souls covered as per 2000 population in Srinagar district, 13,33,707 souls will be covered under NFSA, thus registering an almost 30% increase by covering 3,03,068 additional souls. Overall, in Kashmir Division, 72,28,047 souls will be covered under NFSA as against 57,02,440 as per 2000 population. It was explained that, earlier, the ration was being issued on the basis of ration cards which covered much less population and the number of ration cards was also less. With the increase in the number of souls as per 2011 census population, the number of souls covered @ 5kg per soul under NFSA will result in the higher net availability of ration to the members of the erstwhile families at a highly subsidized price of Rs.15 for 5 kilogram of rice and only Rs.13 if the beneficiary takes both rice (3kg) and wheat (2kg).
The Raj Bhavan spokesperson recalled that the decision regarding implementation of NFSA was taken by the erstwhile PDP-BJP Government in December 2016. As per the decision of the then Cabinet, inclusion and exclusion criteria for coverage under NFSA is in line with the provisions of the Act so as to maximize the benefits to the most deserving section of the society. The Governor directed the Chief Secretary to ensure that the effective availability of food grains does not get reduced viz-a-viz that under the earlier regime before implementation of NFSA, under any circumstances.