March 15: In a significant decision by the Governor-led administration, the State Administrative Council ordered increase in ration scale from five kgs to seven kgs per soul in the Below Poverty Line (BPL) and Priority Sector House Holds (PHSS) category under the National Food Security Act.
“This intervention is unique as the state will have to bear the burden of procuring the additional quantities of food-grains pursuant to the revision in the scale of ration which is beyond the NFSA level,” an official spokesman said.
The SAC, which met here under the Chairmanship of Governor N N Vohra, accorded sanction to the provision of additional food-grains at 2 Kg/head, over and above the NFSA entitlement of 5 Kg/head, for all 17.85 lakh individuals in the BPL (PHH) category up to a family size of six.
“The additional 2 Kg per head shall be priced at the highly subsidized rate of Rs 12 per Kg of rice and Rs 10 per Kg of wheat,” he said.
The spokesperson said that BPL families in particular will receive “major relief on account of the decision as they will get additional quantity of food 2 kg at a highly subsidized price as aforementioned.”
“For a typical BPL of five members, the availability of ration now will be protected at 35 kgs (7 kg multiplied by 5 members). Apart from full availability of 35 kgs of food-grains, the family which was earlier incurring a monthly expenditure of Rs 224 on the purchase of food-grains (Rs 6.40×35 kgs of rice) will now be spending only Rs195 (Rs 3×5 kgs+Rs 12x2kgs in a 5 member family) resulting in food bill savings to the family,” he said.
“Similarly, in respect of a typical 5 member Non-BPL family in the Priority category, a family incurring monthly expenditure of Rs 350 earlier (35 kg x Rs 10) will now be spending only Rs 275 (25 kg at Rs 3 per kg and 10 kg at Rs 20 per kg).”
It was also decided by the SAC that the additional provision of food-grains will be made available at 2 kg per head, over and above the NFSA entitlement of 5 Kg/head, in respect of all the 42.51 lakh individuals belonging to the PHH category.
“This additional 2 Kg per head shall be priced on subsidised rates which will be Rs 20 per Kg of rice and Rs 13 per Kg for wheat,” he said.
With a view to ensuring availability of ration even to those who are not part of the Priority category (i.e. NPHH), the SAC further approved availability of additional quantity of food-grains at 2 kg per head, over and above 5 kg per head in respect of 45 lakh individuals under the Non Priority Household (NPHH) category, a “no profit” basis (Rs 25 per kg for rice and Rs18 per kg for wheat).
The spokesperson also reiterated that today’s decision will “fully protect the dispensation available to 13.77 lakh souls in the AAY category who will continue to receive rations at the scale of 35 kg per family at the NFSA rate of Rs.2 per kg of wheat and Rs.3 per kg of rice. “
He added an AAY family will need to spend only Rs105 per month to procure 35 kgs of food-grains under the NFSA dispensation.
With a view to implementing the above decisions from the 1st of April, 2016, the SAC directed the Finance department to immediately provide additional resources to the extent of Rs 105 crore to Consumer Affairs & Public Distribution Department (CAPD) to implement the decision relating to enhanced scale of food-grains over and above the NFSA entitlements.
The Finance department shall also provide an annual “Trading Account” facility of Rs 630 crore for upfront procurement of additional food-grains for immediate and efficient implementation of these decisions, particularly ensuring the physical availability of the required quantity of food-grains.
Referring to the concerns expressed by the certain sections of the society as regards the scale of ration being made available under the NFSA, the spokesperson of the Government stated that the BPL families having strength upto 06 members in particular had reservations with regard to the availability and scale of ration since the entitlement under NFSA is pegged at 5 kg per soul.
“Based on a critical assessment of the need and feasibility of possible intervention, the State Govt decided to go beyond the NFSA framework, by way of supplementation of NFSA entitlements in the priority category (PHH), particularly in respect of BPL households, to address such concerns notwithstanding the obtaining resource position of the State. Further, with a view, to addressing concerns relating to the availability of food-grains for those who are not a part of PHH, the SAC directed that food-grains at the scale 7 kgs per soul should be made available to 45 lakh consumers in the NPHH category to ensure availability for need-based drawal of ration by persons under the NPHH category.”
The Spokesperson also said that the SAC directed the CAPD to finalise all necessary arrangements to ensure that Atta is distributed in place of wheat wherever required.