Mufti Sayeed food scheme to cost Rs 400 crore

SRINAGAR: Mufti Mohammad Sayeed Food Entitlement Scheme (MMSFES), announced by Mehbooba Mufti-led coalition government in April, would burden the state exchequer with Rs 400 crore, consumer affairs and public distribution minister Chowdhary Zulfikar Ali told reporters here.
The scheme, approved by the state cabinet last month, has been designed to ensure additional ration to families with six members in the below poverty line (BPL), priority households and non-priority household category.
“The scheme will grant additional five kilograms of rice per soul apart from the existing 5 kilogram ration under the national food security act (NFSA),” Zulfikar said.
Each kilogram of rice under the scheme will be priced at Rs 15, while flour and wheat will cost Rs 13 and Rs 12 respectively, he added.
According to the MMSFE scheme, the single member family which was entitled to 5 kilos under NFSA, will be provided additional 5 kilos of rice. Similarly, a family with two members will get 10 additional kilos of rice, while three- and four-member families will get additional 15 kilos.
“The 5-member families will get additional 10 kilos and 6-member families will be provided 5 kilos extra ration,” the minister said.
“The scheme will be implemented from July 1. It will incur a financial burden of Rs 400 crore on the state government that would be borne by it to mitigate the grievances of people,” Zulfikar said.
He said the government will procure 4.3 lakh metric tons of food grains from the government of India to implement the scheme.
The NFSA covers 119 lakh consumers, 20 lakhs more than the previously registered 99 lakh souls. The requirement of food grains has shot up to 10-lakh metric tons, he said.
The minister, however, admitted that the state has no quality control laboratory and the food grains are procured on the basis of certificate issued by Food Corporation of India. He said the state government would set up a food testing laboratory in the state.
“Apart from the FCI certificate, we rely on visual test. But we won’t compromise on quality and will set up food testing laboratory,” he said.
Replying to a query, he said the government would streamline the system in distribution of ration and equip fair price shops with point of sale machines to keep track of ration.
“It will rid the system of pilferages and bring transparency. Also, GPRS trackers will be installed in trucks carrying ration and deputy commissioners have been nominated as grievance officers,” he said.
He announced that state food commission will be set up in the state in near future.