New Delhi: Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan today called on Union Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan and demanded higher allocation of foodgrains for the state under the National Food Security Act (NFSA).
The state also sought more allocation of subsidised sugar as well as foodgrains for distribution to migrant workers and welfare institutions, while also asked the central government to extend the rice procurement period for three months.
Kerala had rolled out the National Food Security Act (NFSA) in November 2016, under which foodgrains are sold to the poor at a highly subsidised rate of Rs 1-3/kg via public distribution system (PDS), also called ration shops.
"Kerala CM has placed many demands before us. One is increasing foodgrains allocation under NFSA," Paswan told reporters after the meeting.
In the meeting, sources said that the Kerala Chief Minister demanded that state should get foodgrains for PDS supply that it used to get before implementing the NFSA.
Under the NFSA, the state is getting 14.25 lakh tonnes of foodgrains annually, lower than 16.25 lakh tonnes earlier. To this, the the Food Minister said that an uniform formula has been applied to all states while allocating foodgrains to each state under the food security law.
"Allocation under the NFSA is being made taking into account last three years average foodgrains lifting of the state. And the average was 10 lakh tonnes per annum for Kerala. But more is being given to protect poor people," a senior Food Ministry official said.
Kerala is asking for more allocation under the NFSA as it wants to cover the entire population. Among other demands, the Kerala government has asked more subsidy support as the state wants to sell subsidised sugar to entire population under the PDS.
At present, sugar is supplied to only families of below poverty line (BPL). It has also asked for paraboiled rice and additional foodgrains allocation of about 50,000 tonnes per month to meet the demand of 10-15 lakh migrant workers in the state.
The state has also demanded up foodgrains allocatin to 550 tonnes per month for welfare institutions from existing monthly allocation of 212 tonnes , while it has also sought central support to make extra payment to state-run FCI labourers. That apart, the Kerala government has asked the Centre to extend rice procurement period for three months.