New Delhi — Under Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS), National Food Security (NFSA) Scheme and Other Welfare Scheme (OWS), foodgrains at subsidised rates are allocated to States and Union Territories by the Union Government and released through the Food Corporation of India (FCI). The Food Subsidy against the foodgrains lifted by the State Government from FCI is provided to the FCI directly and not to the State Government.
Through a written reply in Rajya Sabha today, Ram Vilas Paswan, Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, said that in case of those States which have adopted Decentralised Procurement Scheme (DCP), the food subsidy is directly released to the State government for the quantity of food grains distributed by them. In case of Rajasthan, it has adopted DCP Scheme in respect of only one district, which is Alwar.
Accordingly, the amount of food subsidy released to the Government of Rajasthan during 2015-16 is Rs 54.67 crore; the correspoding figure for the previous year was Rs 90.97 crore — both under the DCP.
Paswan said that the Direct Bank Transfer (DBT) Scheme to provide food subsidy directly to the beneficiaries is one of the various methods to check leakages and diversion of foodgrains. However, its implementation depends solely on the readiness of States or Union Territories in terms of digitisation and removal of duplication of the database of beneficiaries, seeded with bank account numbers, and can be taken up on specific request from the concerned State or Union Territory.
So far, interest has been shown by three Union Territories, i.e. Chandigarh, Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Puducherry.
Paswan said that, as on date, no proposal for release of food subsidy to the Government of Rajasthan for Financial Year 2015-16 was pending with the department. However, as per procedure, in respect of food grains procured by the State Government/ designated agencies and delivered to FCI for central pool, initially payments are made as per provisional cost sheet issued by this department.
Once final rates are fixed, if the final rate is more than the provisional rate, the balance amount is released by the FCI. If it is less than the rate allowed in provisional cost sheet, the excess payment is recovered.
The minister said that, in case of Rajasthan, final rates of procurement incidentals for the Rabi Marketing Season (RMS) 2010-11 onwards has not yet been fixed and proposals for RMS 2010-11 to RMS 2013-14 are pending for cost finalisation and are to be finalised soon in consultation with the state agencies concerned.
From the Finace Ministry
In a related development, Jayant Sinha, Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance, said through a written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha yesterday that it was a priority of the government to work towards enabling social security protection for citizens, especially from the economically weaker and vulnerable sections. In accordance with this priority, he said, the Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana (PMJJBY), the Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana (PMSBY) and Atal Pension Yojana (APY) were recently launched to address the areas of life and accidental risk, and old age income security.
The Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana (RSBY) is also operational to provide health insurance cover to persons living below the poverty line.
There is also an existing social security scheme, namely Aam Aadmi Bima Yojana (AABY), which caters for workers in the unorganised sector under various vocational groups. The scheme extends life and disability cover to such persons between the age of 18 and 59 years. 50% of the premium under the scheme is borne by the Union Government. The rest is paid by State governments, nodal agencies or individuals as the case may be.