Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Jul 9:
The overenthusiasm to enrol under National Food Security Act (NFSA) has surpassed the population recorded in 2011 census, which is likely to cost Rs 600 crore annually to the Odisha exchequer towards subsidy on food grains.
The state government would have to part with Rs 600 crore annually for providing ‘Rs one a kilo rice’ to the beneficiaries under NFSA. If the bogus enrolments and ineligible applicants are not weeded out, the burden on the exchequer is likely to go even higher.
The two districts which have registered over-subscription are—Nuapada with 107 % and Kendrapada with 105%. Besides, the number of enrolments in 76 Blocks and two municipal areas have too exceeded the population. Barring Anugul, Cuttack, Jharsuguda and Sundargarh districts, all the remaining districts have registered more than 90 % of the population in 2011.
As per data available with the Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare department, as many as 1, 04, 25, 000 families have enrolled under NFSA of which the population is 3.93 crore. The figure is 67 lakh higher than the statistics available with the Centre.
The inflated numbers has heightened the concerns of the state government as an additional Rs 2000 crore burden would be imposed on the state exchequer if the government provides subsidised food grains to all the applicants.
The state government had initiated the process for identification of the priority households on the basis of eight exclusion and five auto-inclusion criteria. Despite this, a large number of people have applied to avail the benefits under NFSA.
Under the scheme, each member of the family will receive 5 kg rice or wheat or both a month. If the state government provides 5 kg subsidised food grains to the excess 67 lakh beneficiaries then the government would have to cough up an additional Rs 90 crore per month from its treasury.
The Centre would provide 21 lakh tonne food grains at Rs 5.65 a kg to the state government per month under the scheme. As per an estimate, the Rs 1 kg food grain would put a burden of Rs 800 crore on the latter. If the state government provides Rs 1 kg food grain to the beneficiaries after the implementation of NFSA then it would have to spend an additional Rs 2000 crore from its coffers.
Presently, of the 36.87 lakh BPL families in the state, 12.54 lakh families are covered under the Antodaya Anna Yojana, 6.23 Poverty Left Out (PLO) families, 5.3 lakh KBK APL families, 10,183 fishermen families the livelihood of which are affected due to ban on fishing to conserve Olive Ridley turtles, 63,772 Annapurna beneficiaries, 1.35 lakh physically challenged beneficiaries, 4.73 lakh ST & SC students residing in hostels and 1,400 inmates of Kasturba Gandhi Girls’ Schools are provided with ‘Rs one a kilo rice’ or for free. A total of 3.10 crore families in the state are being provided with ‘Rs one a kilo rice’.
NFSA would be implemented in the state from October 1.