SRINAGAR: The Jammu and Kashmir Tuesday asked New Delhi to provide the state 9.50 lakh MT of food grains per year for implementation of the National Food Security Act (NFSA).
The demand was raised in National Consultation meeting convened in New Delhi by the government of India (GoI) to discuss options of making essential commodities and food items adequately availability to the consumers.
Speaking in the meeting, which was attended by ministers from states and Union Territories, J&K’s minister for Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution (CAPD), Chowdhary Zulfkar, said the state can implement NFSA only if it is provided 9.50 lakh MT of food grains by the centre.
“We are prepared to implement NFSA provided our annual allocation is enhanced to 9.50 lakh MT instead of 7.51 lakh MT. An early approval to 9.50 lakh MT may be accorded, so that we decide to implement NFSA without putting our population to disadvantage of PDS food grains,” he said.
The J&K receives food grains as per 2001 census despite an increase in number of its consumer families from 18.2 lakh in 2001 to 22.3 lakh in 2011.
However, the state government, late last month, decided to provide rations to the consumers as per Census 2011 from July “with or without the support from the government of India”.
At a high-level meeting, in which the order was issued, the CAPD minister asked the concerned officials of the CAPD department to work out the financial implications for additional food quota as per the Census of 2011 and submit it to the concerned quarters immediately. But he expressed reservations over the possibilities of implementing NFSA in the state.
In Tuesday’s meeting, the minister requested for one-year extension in the deadline for implementing NFSA and also sought permission to cover 90 per cent rural and 75 per cent urban population.
“At present, 63.55 per cent population in rural areas and 47.10 per cent for urban areas are determined to be covered as per census 2011,” he told the meeting.
He said: “With implementation of NFSA-2013 in the state, 74.13 lakh souls will be covered under NFSA at highly subsidised rate of Rs 3 for rice and Rs 2 for wheat. Out of 2.72 lakh MT allocation at APL rate, about 40 lakh souls will be covered.
“Thus approximately 114.13 lakh souls will be covered leaving behind around 11.00 lakh souls as uncovered as per census 2011. The state has to arrange the food grains at economic price for the uncovered APL population.”
On the basis of coverage determined for J&K and entitlements prescribed in the Act, he said, the estimated annual allocation of food grains to the state is 4.79 lakh MT. And, he added, as per the provision of the Act the annual allocation of food grains to any state is less than the annual average off-take for the last three years under Normal TPDS.
“The J&K state is, therefore, entitled to receive a total annual allocation of 9.50 lakh MT of food grains under NFSA keeping in view the annual allocation, additional ad-hoc allocation, allocation for nomadic population, social welfare institution and Kashmiri migrants,” he said.
Zulfkar said that e-PDS Project presently on 50:50 (sharing basis) needs to be changed to the pattern of North-Eastern states and the funding has to be changed to 90:10.
“J&K could implement this important project. The cost of Aadhaar seeding needs to be fully funded by government of India,” he said.
The minister opined that the next CAPD ministers’ conference should be held at Srinagar.