The Centre has asked the Bihar government to fulfill all conditions of National Food Security Act (NFSA) till December 31 this year, failing which “action will be taken”, Union Minister for Food, Public Distribution and Consumer Affairs, Ram Vilas Paswan said here today.
He also accused the Bihar government of submitting false affidavit claiming that all formalities of NFSA have been fulfilled in the state.
“The Centre has fixed the number of NFSA beneficiaries in Bihar at 8.71 crore, but Bihar has identified only 7.6 crore people till now. More than 1 crore are yet to be identified, leading to their deprivation in getting subsidised food grains at a rate of Rs 2 per kg for wheat and Rs 3 per kg for rice,” Paswan told mediapersons.
He said there were complaints from Bihar regarding irregularities in identifying beneficiaries under NFSA as well as providing ration cards to them and added that he had met Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi over the issues on June 27 in Patna and July 11 in New Delhi, but to no avail.
“Manjhi on both occasion assured us that all beneficiaries will be identified and ration cards will be provided to them by the end of July 2014. This has not happened till now. We are asking the state government to fulfill all conditions of NFSA by December 31 this year, else we will take necessary action against it,” Paswan added.
The Union Minister said the state government has failed to upload the digitised database of NFSA beneficiaries on the authorised portal, and also has not been providing figures related to food grain distribution on time.
“This has hampered the end to end computerisation and transparency aspect of food security to the people. There have been numerous complaints from rural areas of Bihar regarding non-availability of food grains,” he added.
Further talking about NFSA, Paswan said the Act was implemented in Bihar from March 2014, and the food grain allocation to it has been raised from 36.32 lakh tonne to 55.27 lakh tonne per annum under the scheme.