Daunting task ahead for State Govt

Implementation of Food scheme:  Absence of proper  monitoring mechanism,
poor infrastructure major challenges

By Our Reporter

 SHILLONG: At a time when there are recurring cases of diversion of food grains under PDS in Meghalaya in the absence of proper monitoring mechanism, the implementation of Food Security Scheme will be a challenging task for the State Government

The Bill, which was passed by Lok Sabha a few days back, aims at providing 5 kg rice for Rs 3 per head every month. However, the quantity is less compared to the Rs 35 kg rice per family at the rate over Rs 6 per kg.

Under the scheme, the State Government aims to achieve a target of 77% beneficiaries in rural areas and 50.8% in urban areas.

Besides the fear of diversion of food grains, poor transportation network due to the state’s difficult terrain is another problem government will face while implementing the scheme.

Due to the problems related to transportation in the land locked Meghalaya, the State Government will have to bear the additional transportation and administration charges which will bring an additional burden on the consumers as they will have to pay more than Rs 3 to get the share of 5 kg rice per month per head.

At present, a BPL beneficiary has to pay Rs 6. 60 paise per kg rice under PDS, which is an increase of 45 paise ( Rs 6.15 paise) due to the transportation and administrative charges.

There is also a fear that like the diversion of funds by those who look after the implementation of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) in the state, there are chances that the food scheme can be misused unless there is a strong monitoring mechanism.

When asked, the Principal Secretary in charge food, civil supplies and consumer affairs , PW Ingty said that though there are difficulties, the State Government is prepared and committed to see that food security is ensured to the people of the State with the available infrastructure.

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