The Akhilesh Yadav government has expressed inability to implement the National Food Security Act (NFSA),which seeks to provide foodgrains at highly subsidised rates to the poor,and has asked the Centre to fully bear its expenses.
The central government has given us a 18-page NFSA but no resources to implement it. Ahead of the Lok Sabha polls,the Congress will claim that we did not implement it, Minister for Food and Civil Supplies Rajendra Choudhary said,claiming that the scheme has been prepared by the Congress for political gains.
The state government now wants that even the initial money required to implement the scheme should be paid to UP in advance as revolving fund. It also wants that most of the expenses be given as grant to the state government.
Choudhary said that the state governments objections were handed over to Union Food Minister K V Thomas during a meeting on October 1 at New Delhi.
The UP government is against the section 4 of NFSA,which mentions that every pregnant woman and lactating mother shall be entitled to meal,free of charge,during pregnancy and six months after the child birth,through the local anganwadi and maternity benefit of Rs 1,000 per month for a period of six months.
We cannot pay the amount and the total expenses in this category should be borne by the central government, Choudhary stated.
The state government is also against section 13 of NFSA which states that in case of non-supply of the entitled quantity of foodgrains to beneficiaries,they will receive allowance from the state government. The allowance should be totally paid by the central government. We cannot pay it, the minister said.
The state government is also unwilling to pay the salary and other expenses for the district grievance redressal officer,state food commission and vigilance committees. UP also wants that the transportation expenses of the foodgrains under NFSA,its handling,margin and profit of dealers should be paid by the central government. The cost of making storage arrangements should be done by the central government. This should be paid as a grant to us and not as financial assistance, he said.
Presently 5.28 lakh metric tonne of foodgrains is allocated to UP every month. After implementation of NFSA, 8.17 lakh metric tonne of foodgrains will be required every month.