According to the local sources it has been reported that the Chief Minister of Odisha Mr Naveen Patnaik urged the Centre to release the pending food grains quota under National Food Security Act (NFSA) for the State. Addressing a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Chief Minister said the Central Government was requested for the release of 3.20 lakh MT rice and 52.9 thousand MT wheat for three months from November, 2015 to January, 2016. However, the Centre has so far released 2.92 lakh MT rice and 78.4 thousand MT wheat only under NFSA resulting in a shortfall of 27,900 MT rice while surplus of 25,500 MT wheat, as it has been quoted.
Further, it has been stated that the Odisha is a rice consuming State and most of the people prefer rice as their staple diet. The State Government’s request was based on a ratio of 85.82:14.18 derived from the option of beneficiaries indicated in their NFSA applications as indicated in the letter. Failure to supply food grains as per the choice of NFSA beneficiaries was against the spirit of the Act, the Chief Minister revealed. Furthermore, in this regard, it has been narrated that while claiming that the State has successfully implemented the food security programme from November, 2015, the Chief Minister said that about 80.05 lakh families (covering 2.98 crore people) have been enrolled as priority households and Antyodaya Anna Yojana households under NFSA. It was further told that the list of beneficiaries has been placed in public domain and the State Government’s demand for food grains is based on the entitlement of individual beneficiary as per the Act.
In this matter, it has also been revealed that the Centre has allocated more wheat to the State on the basis of the consumption pattern of pre-NFSA days. Since 85.82 per cent of the beneficiaries have given their preference for rice, the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution are directed to supply the actual quantity of the rice needed and take back surplus wheat from the State, according to the Chief Minister. Moreover, in this regard, the situation has also been explained to Union Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan in a separate letter.