Uncertainty over food security scheme implementation

Govt looks set to miss January 5 deadline

SHILLONG: Uncertainty looms large as the State Government is running out of time to set the gears in motion to implement the all-important Food Security Scheme in the State by January 5.

President Pranab Mukherjee had given his nod to the Food Security Ordinance on July 5 following which the Central Government directed all the states to implement it within six months.

Speaking to The Shillong Times on Friday, Principal Secretary in charge of Food Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs, PW Ingty, informed that all the deputy commissioners have been directed to identify the beneficiaries of the scheme as per the Draft Socio Economic List within a set deadline of two months.

It is noteworthy that on August 10, Chief Minister Dr Mukul Sangma had stated that the State Government would complete the process of identifying the beneficiaries within sixty days and will accordingly prepare a draft list.

“The next ten day will be for claims and objections for the inclusion of beneficiaries in the list,” he had said.

Incidentally, on October 1, Minister for Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs, Clement Marak, had stated that Meghalaya has taken all steps for implementation of the National Food Security scheme covering nearly 80 percent of rural areas and 50 per cent of urban areas. Marak had made the statement while speaking at the conference of state food ministers in New Delhi.

However, the ground reality is that the list of beneficiaries is yet to be prepared, as is evident from the comments of Principal Secretary Ingty.

With less than two months left for the January 5 deadline, the State Government is now faced with the enormous task of completing all necessary formalities prior to implementing the Food Security Scheme, that aims to benefit nearly 18,44,000 people in rural areas and another 3,12,000 people in urban areas of the State.

Individuals coming under the programme are entitled to five kg of food grains per month at Rs 3 per kg for rice, Rs 2 per kg of wheat and Re 1 per kg of millet/ coarse grains.

With the Union Government having issued a strict directive to implement the scheme in letter and spirit for the benefit of the common man, the State Government, which has been accused of failing to streamline the Public Distribution System in Meghalaya, will have its task cut out as far as implementation of the Food Security Scheme, a pet project of the Congress-led UPA-II Government, is concerned.

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