Senior Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) politician and CAPD minister, Ch Zulfikar Ali Sunday revealed a cabinet order signed by the then Chief Secretary, Madhav Lal, giving nod to Government of India over implementation of National Food Security Act (NFSA).
Addressing a press conference here, Zulfikar said, “our department was late in making people aware about the NFSA which is people friendly.” “We had some technical issues.”
Notably, PDP-BJP coalition is implementing NFSA in Jammu and Kashmir from February Ist. The announcement came under sharp criticism both from unionist opposition parties and All parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC: g&m).
“Hon’ble former CM, Omar Abdullah, recently criticised the implementation of NFSA in state but the then same NC-Congress coalition government led by Omar Abdullah himself gave nod to the implementation of the Union act in J&K in 2011,” Zulfikar told the media personnel.
Government of India had invited comments from Jammu and Kashmir government in 2011 regarding NFSA and same was discussed and hence approved in the then NC-Congress coalition cabinet held on November 24 same year. “National Conference-Congress coalition even bypassed State Legislature to discuss the implementation of NFSA,” Zulfikar added.
The NFSA was enacted across Indian on September 10, 2013.
The CAPD minister said that the ministry is in the process of getting details of households across J&K and soon details will be uploaded online. “Around 22 Lakh enrolment forms have been received from the people; 1152707 forms from Kashmir while 1041465 from Jammu region.”
He said that for the filling up the enrolment forms, government has not sought any proof of residence or annual income. “Although we are bound to ask for income details but this time we have just asked for simple details,” he said, “Aadhaar card is rather necessary for it. But we know many areas have not been covered under it yet.”
Detailing the features of NFSA, Zulfikar said, “out of one crore twenty five lakh and forty nine thousand only six lakh souls have been excluded from getting subsidy.” “These include those holding constitutional posts including Governor, CM, Ministers, Judges and Gazetted Officers. Besides, those who have an income of Rs 25 Lakh and above shall not be entitled to subsidy in ration. People who have land measuring 80 kanals in individual capacity and 250 in joint capacity and those who pay Income Tax of 30% annually too have been excluded from getting subsidy.” “This makes only 5% of total J&K population.”
The CAPD minister added that the money saved from such souls shall be distributed to provide rice, grains and Atta among poor. “We shall be giving maternity benefits as well. A pregnant lady shall be entitled to free of cost ration.”
The minister assured that anyone who does not receive ration from government, which is a right of a subject now after implementation of NFSA, government shall give him/her compensation. “State government shall soon formulate State Food Commission and those who don’t get food shall be required to contact district administration and compensation shall follow accordingly,” he informed.
The CAPD department shall be IT rich now as, the minister said, the government mulls to install “Electronic Public Distribution Systems”. “A member of a family will be required to give his finger prints to get ration.”
He also revealed that Government of India is giving state government a grant of Rs 25 Crore for Food Chain Management.
Accepting that there were many discrepancies in ration distribution system, Zulfikar said, “there are many areas where people don’t get their proper share. There is mismanagement is scaling but we are trying to set a proper system in place and we have been successful in it, so far.”
He said that One crore Nineteen lakh and Thirteen thousand people have been covered under NFSA. “74 Lakh 13000 souls will get grains, Atta and rice @ Rs 1, 2, and 3, respectively while 45 Lakh souls will get same quota @ Rs 8, 9, and 10, respectively.”
Replying to a question as why NFSA enrolment forms are not in Urdu language, Zulfikar said, “these have been issued by Union government and only such forms acre accepted by the software used in enrolment.” “We are Urdu lovers and are ins support of its promotion.”
In reply to another question, the minister said, “BPL category is an open ended system and anyone can get into it anyone can be taken out of it. But, yet we are just assembling details and once we are done, then the proper categorization will be carried out.”
He also said that the family which is getting subsidy in LPG cannot get it in kerosene. “There are clear orders that a family can get subsidy in only one item either LPG or Kerosene, however, it is yet to done here.”
Government of India has cut Kerosene quota to all of its states, he said. “There has been no reduction in Kerosene quota of J&K since our government’s first day.”
The minister also said that Sugar will be provided to people as per the laid down criteria. “there is no change in it. And we have supplies up to February 2016.” “We have not issued tenders yet for its procuration, yet.”