The Government of India has turned down JK government's repeated pleas to cover population over and above the figures determined by the erstwhile Planning Commission of India, under the National Food Security Act-2013.
Sources told Greater Kashmir that the previous NC-Congress government as well as incumbent PDP-BJP regime have repeatedly raised the issue of enhancing JK's share under the ambitious food program which was rolled out by the Centre in 2013. However, the Centre has shown lukewarm response to the demand.
According to figures worked out by Planning Commission, the program will cover 63.55% population in rural areas of the state and 47.1% in urban areas–meaning that 74 lakh souls will reap benefits of the scheme in the state. The beneficiaries of the scheme will get foodgrains at Rs 3, Rs 2 and Rs one per kilogram.
JK's population is estimated to be 1. 36 crore. While the program will cover 74 lakh population, the government had told this newspaper on Thursday that Centre will provide tide-over quota at Above Poverty Line (Rates) for feeding 45 lakh souls. For the left-out 17 lakhs, it had claimed that it will purchase food-grains from open market.
Sources disclosed that State government in response to draft of the Food Security Bill circulated by Centre in 2011 had communicated to it (GoI) to cover 100 % rural and 90 % urban population under the scheme.
In September 2012, the State government had reiterated this demand before the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Food, Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution constituted for the purpose.
Again while responding to the recommendations of the parliamentary panel received from Union Consumer Affairs and Food and Public Distribution, the State repeated its position.
"The recommendations of the State have not found place in the provisions of the National Food Security Ordinance 2013, promulgated by the Union Ministry of Law and Justice," Choudary Muhammad Ramzan, CAPD Minister in previous regime had told the two-day conference of State Food Ministers and Food Secretaries in New Delhi on September 30 and Oct 1.
The incumbent regime too had pressed for bringing more population under ambit of the program.
"The coverage should be increased to 90% in rural areas and 75% in urban areas," CAPD Minister Choudhary Zulfikar had told at GoI consultation meeting on implementation of the program on July 7, 2015.
As already reported, the state cabinet on Thursday constituted a Cabinet Sub-Committee to study pros and cons of implementing the law in the State.