Himachal proposes to expand food security ambit

Single women,terminally ill to be beneficiaries

Written by Ashwani Sharma | Shimla | Updated: April 9, 2014 11:09:01 am

With just nine days to go for the Congress government to launch the Centre’s flagship food security scheme in Himachal Pradesh,the state government has proposed to expand the number of beneficiaries.

According to the guidelines of the Centre,two-thirds of the population — 75 per cent rural and 50 per cent urban — will get highly subsidised foodgrains under the scheme. However,the state government is making provisions to enlarge its scope to benefit other deserving sections,Food and Supplies Minister G S Bali said.

“The action plan makes the scheme more broad-based to extend benefits of highly subsided rations to needy sections in the state’s rural areas. As there is no scope beyond 50 per cent capping in the urban areas,the rural population will be witnessing more flexibility. Some of the sections proposed to be covered,beyond the Centre’s capping,include single women,terminally sick persons,handicapped persons (up to 65 per cent ),senior citizens beyond 65 years and women heads of families,” Bali said.

Other categories include small street vendors and MNREGA labourers having put in minimum 30 days of work.

Himachal will roll out the scheme on August 20 to coincide with former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s birthday.

A total of 32 lakh people will benefit from the scheme under the Centre’s parameters,and 36 lakh more people will stand to gain under the state’s proposal.

Official estimates show a requirement of about Rs 300 crore from the state budget for implementation of the scheme,which proposes to provide 5 kg foodgrains per month at highly subsidized prices of Rs 3,Rs 2,Rs 1 per kg for rice,wheat,coarse grains,respectively.

The poorest,who include 1.27 lakh antodya families and another 4 lakh BPL families,will get 35 kg per household.

Bali said he met Union Food Minister K V Thomas and Finance Minister P Chidambaram and informed them about the framework the state has devised.

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