Minister for Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs and Information Choudhary Zulfkar Ali today said that the state Government is providing subsidized sugar to 74.13 lakh souls even as the centre has discontinued the subsidy support in the 2017-18 Budget.
“The state government is procuring the sugar through e-tendering mode at the rate of Rs. 47 per kg. Now, the State Government has revised the rate for the consumers to Rs. 25 per kg but the consumers will continue to get the subsidy of Rs. 22 per kg. The annual burden on the state exchequer will be Rs. 211 crore” the Minister said while chairing a meeting of senior officers of the department here today.
He said Government of India was providing Rs. 18.50 as subsidy per kg on the sugar throughout the country, which it discontinued in the annual budget for 2017-18, but the J&K Government continued the subsidy in the interest of the people, especially low income group.
“So far the consumers were paying Rs 13.50 per kg for sugar and the rest of the amount was borne by the state government. The state government in the best interest of the consumers of the state has decided to continue supply of subsidized sugar in the State to BPL, AAY, PHH category which constitute 74.13 lakh population of the state as per the 2011 census, against the total population of 125.42 lakh. This reflects 66 per cent of the population shall continue to get the subsidized sugar” the Minister informed.
Meanwhile, it was informed that sugar is not a commodity of the Public Distribution System under National Food Security Act (NFSA). But it is being distributed to families falling under AAY and BPL category, which include households having meager monthly income, houseless and landless, widows, orphans, destitute, militancy and violence affected families – the low income group, leprosy patients, domestic housemaids, weaker sections, nomadic families, old age pension holders, specially-abled persons, inhabitants having kuchha houses, displaced families, labourers and workers, slum dwellers and other deserving families identified by the competent authority.
It was also informed that district Committees were constituted for implementation of NFSA which included respective District Development Commissioner as Chairman and ACD, District Social Welfare Officers and FCS&CA Assistant Director as Members. This Committee identified the beneficiaries to be covered under NFSA in different categories.
It was further informed that FCS&CA department used to float the tender for six months in order to save the state exchequer from the extra burden as the sugar market is fluctuating and the rate fixed for longer duration may not be financially feasible for the state.
About the present status, it was informed that there is regular sugar supply from April 2017 onwards and the department has also released the sugar quota of 1 kg per family on the festival of Eid-ul-fitr.
However, it was said that the sugar was not supplied from January to March for want of procurement, which involves national level tendering and has to be approved after passing various stages regarding its quality and quantity which has to be done by reputed agencies.
It was further informed in the meeting that prior to implementation of NFSA, the state was procuring 7.51 lakh metric tonnes food grains from GoI through Food Corporation of India. But after NFSA implementation in the State, 74.13 lakh population of the state falling under PHH category are getting the Rice at the rate of Rs. 3 per kg, Atta at the rate of Rs. 3 per kg and Wheat at the rate of Rs 2 per kg.
In addition to NFSA, the state government is also providing ration to NPHH and APL families, which include over 45 lakh souls, at concessional rate of Rs 12 per kg for wheat and Rs 13 per kg for Atta, the meeting was informed.
In order to implement NFSA as per 2011 census, the government is providing the food grains to 1.19 crore out of the total population of 1.25 crore. In order to supplement the NFSA, the state government had also launched Mufti Mohammad Sayeed Food Entitlement Scheme (MMSFES) which is providing additional food grains to the people.
“Under MMSFES, 4.30 lakh metric tonnes food grains are being distributed at the rate of Rs 24 and Rs 22 for rice and wheat respectively and the subsidy is being continued at the rate of Rs 9 on rice per kg and Rs 10 per kg on wheat to the consumers” the meeting was told.
The officers informed the Minister that there is no report of shortage or scarcity in the state even in the remote areas and public is fully satisfied with the working of the department, which is ensuring adequate food grains to the people at their doorsteps. The department has taken various reformative steps to maintain transparency and provide quality food grains to the consumers in a time bound manner.