Trinamool wants Centre to pay cost of rice & wheat

Though the Trinamool Congress has agreed to support the Food Security Bill in Parliament,it would demand that the Central government bear the cost of supplying at least the rice and wheat

Written by Sabyasachi Bandopadhyay | Kolkata | Published: July 24, 2013 3:54:35 am

Though the Trinamool Congress has agreed to support the Food Security Bill in Parliament,it would demand that the Central government bear the cost of supplying at least the rice and wheat to the households covered under the new Bill.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee,who has formed a Group of Ministers (GoM) comprising Finance Minister Amit Mitra,Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim,Panchayat Minister Subrata Mukherjee and Food and Civil Supplies Minister Jyotipriya Mullick,has convened a special meeting on Thursday to discuss the state government’s strategy on the Bill,for which the UPA government has already promulgated an ordinance.

The Bill aims to provide 5 kg of foodgrains to every person per month at subsidised price. While rice will be provided at Rs 3 per kg,wheat will be priced at Rs 2 and other coarse foodgrains at Re 1.

The Centre has asked the state governments to select the beneficiaries,and also send a detailed guideline on how they should be selected.

“According to the ordinance,in rural areas,while the share of burden is 78 per cent for the central government and 22 per cent for the state government,in urban areas it is 51 and 49 per cent,respectively. We are already burdened with a huge debt and it is not possible to bear the extra burden. That is why we want the Centre to bear the entire cost of supplying rice and wheat to the beneficiaries,” a top source in the state government told The Indian

Express.

“Our Food Bill per year is Rs 1,620 crore and we are spending an additional Rs 600 crore for supplying rice at Rs 2 per kg. If we have to pay an extra Rs 1,000 crore every year for implementation of the Bill,we will simply go bankrupt,’’ the source said.

Minister Jyotipriya Mullick said the matter will be discussed threadbare in the meeting on July 25.

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