Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Feb 27:
The implementation of the Food security Act in Odisha will depend largely on how early the state government is in a position to finalise the list of beneficiaries, Union Food secretary Sudhir Kumar told reporters here after a meeting with senior officials at the Secretariat here, on Wednesday.
Kumar , who is on a visit to Odisha, said the Centre expects Odisha to implement the Act by July this year but that everything including the time-frame would depend on the state government which is yet to notify the process of selecting the beneficiaries.
“I have requested the competent authority through the chief secretary of the state to expedite the process,” he said.
Chief secretary Jugal Kishore Mohapatra, however, told reporters that the Act would be implemented in full across the state only after assessing the results of pilot projects at selected places where the new system will be put to test.
“We will first see how beneficiaries will be selected and how ration cards will be issued on the basis of the new system,” he said.
Secretary, Food and Civil Supplies Madhusudan Padhi said the exact number of beneficiaries can be ascertained only after the department gets complete details of the excluded categories as well as the number of applications from the eligible beneficiaries.
The Food Security Act which excludes income tax payers and government servants from its purview is designed to benefit tribals and people from weaker economic background including women who get widow pension. The beneficiaries would get rice at Rs 3 a kg, wheat at Rs 2 a kg and certain other food items at Re 1 a kg once the Act comes into force, the sources in the Food and Civil Supplies department said.
Around 76% of Odisha’s population are likely to get subsidised food after the implementation of the Act. the sources added.