SRINAGAR: The J&K government on Thursday formed a four-member panel under Administrative Secretary Planning and Development department to look into “entire gamut of allied activities and institutional changes needed for implementation” of the National Food Security Act in the state.
The panel comprising of administrative secretaries of the departments of Finance, Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution (CAPD), and Law Justice & Parliamentary Affairs, has also been asked to look into the “financial implications and implementation” of the National Food Security Act with respect to census figures of 2011.
“(The panel will) look into the entire gamut of allied activities and institutional changes that need to be put in place in the next three months for implementation of NFSA 2013,” a government order said.
The committee, to be serviced by CAPD, has been asked to submit its report within 15 days.
Despite an increase in number of families from 18.2 lakh in 2001 to 22.3 lakhs in 2011, the state continues to receive food grains as per the previous census while New Delhi is allotting increased allocations for additional below poverty line families on stopgap arrangement.
Last month, the Minister for CAPD had announced that the state would provide rations to consumers as per 2011 census. The state, as per him, was to provide the extra quantity of food grains required to meet the enhanced demand.
But he later, during a programme in New Delhi, asked government of India to enhance the state’s annual quota of rations.
According to New Delhi, the allocation of food grains under Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) is made to the states that have implemented the Act.
While the J&K state has not implemented the Act, it is being allocated food grains as per census population of 2001 at 35 kg per family per month for the Below Poverty Line (BPL), Antodaya Anna Yogna (AAY) as well as Above Poverty Line (APL) families.
The government of India has made it a pre-condition that unless NFSA is implemented, the state will not get food grains as per 2011 census.
It has granted J&K, along with 24 other states or Union Territories, time till September to complete the necessary formalities for implementation of the Act.
“As the allocation is an exceptional measure up to September 2015 or till implementation of NFSA, under no circumstances this additional BPL allotment at BPL rates will be made beyond September,” Assistant Solicitor General of India, S A Makroo, had submitted before the high court during the hearing of a PIL last month.
Former chief minister Omar Abdullah and his successor Mufti Mohammad Sayeed have opposed the implementation of NFSA in the state.
Mufti had voiced his opposition to the Act in his address to the state legislature during the first government first budget session while Omar had claimed that J&K was the only state where the legislation would have “resulted in loss rather than benefit to the people”.
However, the CAPD department, according to latest Economic Survey Report, believes that the Act was a move in the right direction and provides an opportunity to improve food distribution system in the state.