With only three months left before Maharashtra is supposed to roll out the food security scheme,Minister for Food and Civil Supplies Anil Deshmukh expressed concern over staff shortage in the department. He said the scheme that would cater to over 7 crore people in the state would need much more manpower.
Our department currently has 300 officials,which is highly inadequate to effectively roll out a scheme on such a large scale. A separate department or wing needs to be created within the ministry to implement the scheme. We will soon put forward a proposal to this effect for the Cabinet approval, said Deshmukh.
Bhagwan Sahay,Principal Secretary,Food and Civil Supplies,said a lot needed to be done in very little time but the existing logistics of the public distribution system (PDS) would be heavily relied upon. We need to fill a large number of vacant posts within the department,appoint grievance officers at the district level and set up a Food Commission entirely to implement the scheme, he said.
Sixty two per cent of the states total population would benefit from the National Food Security Bill to be implemented from December. Of the 11.23 crore people in the state,it would benefit 7.17 crore. The scheme would benefit 76 per cent of the rural population and 54 per cent of urban population. The state will distribute over 3 lakh metric tonnes of food grains worth Rs 900 crore every month. The state government will be providing 35 kg of food grains to the cardholders that includes wheat at Rs 2 and rice at Rs 3 per kg.
The government is constructing 584 godowns with a capacity to 5.95 lakh metric tonnes of food grains,at an estimated cost of Rs 500 crore.