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Odisha seeks pending Annapurna Scheme dues from Centre

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Bhubaneswar: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to instruct concerned Ministries for early release of food grains and funds relating to previous years 2016-17 and 2017-18 under the Annapurna Scheme and also to ensure timely release of allocation in future for its smooth running.

In a letter addressed to the Prime Minister today, the Chief Minister said that 10 kg of rice is provided free of cost to those senior citizens, who though eligible, but have not been covered under the National Old Age Pension Scheme and added that 64,800 old people in the State are covered under the Annapurna Scheme.

The Chief Minister indicated that Ministry of Rural Development is the nodal Ministry at Government of India level which releases the funds for operation of the scheme while at the same time, Department of Food and Public Distribution, Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution releases allotment of food grains.

“It is a matter of concern that for the year 2016-17 and 2017-18 no allocation of food grains has been received by the State from the Department of Food & Public Distribution. Further, no funds have been received from the Ministry of Rural Development for the year 2017-18,” Patnaik pointed out in the letter.

The Chief Minister stated that in order to avoid inconvenience to the eligible old people and to ensure that their food security is taken care of; the State continues to meet the entire allocation of food grains out of the State pool, which is causing an additional financial burden on the State.

“I would, therefore, request you to kindly issue instructions to the concerned Ministries for early release of food grains and funds relating to the previous years and also to ensure timely release of allocation in future for smooth running of the scheme,” Patnaik wrote in the letter.