According to sources, it has been reported that the Union Food and Public Distribution Minister Mr Ram Vilas Paswan on Wednesday criticized the State Government of Odisha for politicizing the demand for an increased rice quota under the National Food Security Act (NFSA). In this context, assuring a higher allocation of rice from June, Paswan told reporters at New Delhi that the Centre has not reduced the food grain quota of Odisha and had never refused to increase the rice quota. In this regard, it has been stated that we have already constituted a committee and expecting the report from the committee very soon, as it was informed by the Minister after a meeting with Union Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas Mr Dharmendra Pradhan.
Further, there are similar demands from other States as well. However, Odisha’s case is different as it is a rice producing State. I have assured Mr Pradhan that the State’s demand for a rice-wheat quota in 85:15 ratio will be fulfilled and steps will be taken to implement it from June, 2016.It has been highlighted that the State Government is already receiving 21 lakh tonnes of food grains even after implementation of NFSA. Earlier, there were 68 lakh beneficiary families and the number of beneficiaries has now increased to 76 lakh under NFSA. Urging the State Government to refrain from politicizing the issue, The Minister Mr Paswan narrated that he had told the BJD MPs, who met him, that a committee has been constituted to look into the matter. However, the regional party is trying to politicize the issue, as it was added.
Furthermore, in this matter, Mr Pradhan slammed the BJD for creating a hue and cry over a non-issue only to divert the attention from chit fund scam and its failure to meet the drinking water crisis. Since rice is a staple diet in the State, Mr Pradhan requested to Mr Paswan to change the rice-wheat ratio from 79:21 to 85:15. It was also assured that the State’s demand for a rice-wheat quota in 85:15 ratios will be fulfilled and steps will be taken to implement it from June, 2016.