SRINAGAR, JUNE 27: Minister for Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution (CA&PD) Chowdhary Zulfkar Ali today said that with implementation of National Food Security Act (NFSA) providing food has become a right for the people.
The Minister said this during a discussion on “Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution System (Consumer Protection and NFSA) in Upper House.”
Mr. Zulfkar Ali said that with the implementation of the Act the Government has to provide food to its citizens and if it fails to do so it has to provide allowance to them.
He said after introduction of NFSA an even distribution mechanism has been set up in the State.
Providing the details to the House, the Minister said that under NFSA people will get rice as per their family size where each individual is entitled to get five kgs. He added from July 1, 2016 the Government would start Mufti Mohammad Syed Food Entitlement Scheme (MMSFES) to supplement NFSA. He added that procurement done under the scheme would put an extra burden of Rs 358 crore on the State’s exchequer per annum.
The Minister said to make the system more transparent, CA&PD has put the information of 1, 19, 42,000 souls on its web portal. Besides, so far more than eight lakh new ration cards have been distributed across the State, while the rest would be distributed by the end of June, he said.
Mr. Zulfkar said that GPS trackers and Point of Sales (PoS) machines with technologies like finger prints and smart card would be installed on CA&PD depots soon to make them more accountable and transparent. Besides, he also informed that 2700 new ration depots would be established across the State.
Earlier, Mr. Qaiser Jamsheed Lone while starting the discussion asked the Minister to clarify the doubts regarding National Food Security Act (NFSA). He also asked for making sugar, kerosene available across the State, especially in far flung areas.
Mr. Naresh Gupta raised the issue of irregular transportation of ration and urged the Government to provide early supply of food grains in Doda, Kishtawar, and Gandoh. He also requested to improve the quality of atta supplied in the areas. Besides, Mr. Gupta also stressed to enhance the visibility of Metrology department, especially in remote and hilly areas.
Mr. Jugal Kishore while demanding ration for tribal population. He urged the Government to take measures for people living in hilly areas and who have only one crop to go with.
Mr. Ramesh Arora said that the Government needs to correct its database, and conduct an audit of CA&PD to streamline the department. He also urged for improving of distribution system in the State and need to develop a system to check any embezzlement.
Mr. Firdous Ahmad Tak said that the Government should provide adequate ration to people in Chenab area. He also demanded timely release of wages to Night Chowkidars and urged the government to take steps to make them accountable, besides improving distribution mechanism. He also asked for expediting process of opening of new depots.
Dr.Bashir Ahmad Shah (Veeri) said that NFSA is a good legislation and suggested the government to revisit the indicators used in social economic and caste census. He informed the House that due to the rampant land conversion, State is facing 40 percent food grain deficiency.
Mr. Zaffar Iqbal Manhas demanded framing a comprehensive transfer policy and said that the Government needs to reshuffle the staff that is working at a place for many years now.
Mr. Gulam Nabi Monga said that steps should be taken so that only genuine people will be included in Below Poverty Level (BPL) category. While asking for early sugar distribution, Mr. Monga urged for enhancing accountability in the CA&PD.
Dr. Shahnaz Ganai asked for installing gold testing machine to check quality of gold being sold in the State. Besides, she sought present status of Bathinda-Jammu gas pipeline. Calling for increasing the profit percentage of private Fair Price shops owners, she suggested installing Point of Sale machines at depots, and distribution of smart cards among the beneficiaries.
Mr. Saif-ud-Din Bhat urged the Government to ensure supply of quality food grains to schools under Mid-Day meal scheme, besides, providing regular supply of kerosene and ration to the people living in hilly area.
Mr. Yashpal Sharma said that sugar needs to be distributed among people at all stores before Eid. He also said that the Government should start mobile ration depots at Madwa, Wadwan, and ensure that every block in his constituency of Doda gets gas agency.
Mr. Ashok Khajuria said that strict law should be framed and implemented to check the skyrocketing of prices of various commodities.
S. Charanjeet Singh said that market rates should be made uniform and food adulteration be checked.
Mr. Vibod Gupta said that more LPG centres should be opened at Block and Tehsil level. He also asked for enhancing accountability, and regulate prices of various commodities.
Previously 99 lakh souls of the State were provided ration as per census of 2000 by Department of Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution under targeted public distribution system.
Replying to a Calling Attention Notices by Mr. Nawang Rigzin Jora, the Minister said under the said regime the population of district Leh / Kargil and some areas of district Kupwara viz Karnah, Machil, Budmul, Jumgund, Karen, Kumeeli and Gurez and Tulail area of district Bandipora besides some areas of district Kishtwar viz Marwah, Dachhan, Warwan and Padder were provided the ration at the scale of 13 kg per soul, keeping in view the tough geographical conditions, snow bound and lower productive areas.
The Minister said the previous distribution system was mostly uneven and no proper scale was maintained throughout the state.
The Minister said the National Flood Security Act-2013 was implemented in the State from February, 2016. He said as per the provisions of National Food Security Act an even distribution system is maintained and the scale of 5 kg is prescribed per soul per month.
He said keeping in view the requirement of the food grains in the state, Government is going to launch the “Mufti Mohammad Sayeed Food Entitlement Scheme” from July 2016 which will supplement additional 5 kg ration to per soul per month in addition to his entitlement under NFSA.
The Minister said that this will protect the interest of the families having upto 6 members. He said with this about 81 lakh population of the State will also be benefited and there will be extra burden of Rs. 358 crore per annum. He said the scheme is also applicable to the people of Ladakh and other areas as well.