States have shown poor response to the Centre allocating five million tonnes of foodgrains to be sold at highly subsidised rates to the poor in 150 districts affected by malnutrition as per Supreme Court order.
Only about a dozen of states have lifted less than a million tonnes out of five million tonnes meant for one-time supply in the districts with high incidence of poverty, a Food Ministry official told PTI.
Concerned over deaths related to malnutrition, the apex court in May last year had directed the central government to make special allocations of rice and wheat from its overflowing godowns. The scheme is being supervised by the court-appointed Justice D P Wadhwa Committee.
The state governments were asked to distribute wheat at Rs 4.15 per kg and rice at Rs 6.65 per kg to the families which are poor but do not have the ‘Below Poverty Line(BPL)’ ration cards.
“Problems in identifying beneficiaries, additional subsidy burden that states have to bear and ad-hoc nature of allocation — all these factors have led to poor lifting of foodgrains” the official said.
The states have also pointed out that identifying beneficiaries for one-time supply of foodgrains puts heavy costs on them. Also, the identification process takes time.
Presently, Centre has over 77 million tonnes of wheat and rice in its warehouses against the storage capacity of only 63 million tonnes.
The central warehouses are overflowing with granaries due to a record procurement in the last few years following bumper production. This year also, the country’s foodgrains production is estimated to be a record 252.56 million tonnes.
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