Tripura, Mizoram ready to implement food security act

Agartala/Aizawl, Aug 20 (IANS) The Tripura and Mizoram governments have almost computerised their Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) to implement the National Food Security Act (NFSA), official sources in the two states said.

“We will start implementing the food security act from next month. Our necessary preparation are almost completed,” Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar told IANS.

He said: “The Tripura government has been demanding universalisation of PDS and distribution of 14 essential items to people through the PDS.”

Mizoram Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs minister John Rotluangliana said in Aizawl that the state government would start implementing the NFSA from October.

“Over 95 percent of the 960,000 ration cards in Tripura have been already digitised. The remaining computerisation works and setting up of call centres are now under process,” state Principal Secretary (food and civil supplies) S.K. Rakesh told reporters.

He said: “With the completion of the remaining work, the NFSA will be implemented in Tripura from September as per the state government’s decision.”

The official said that creating infrastructure, and necessary computerisation of entire TPDS, cost around Rs.11 crore, with the central government providing 90 percent of the expenses.

In Mizoram, so far, over 98 percent of the total 241,272 ration cards have been digitised.

Mizoram minister John Rotluangliana said: “Around 706,000 of the state’s more than 10 lakh people will be covered by the food security scheme. This included around 1.36 lakh most poor people under the Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) scheme.”

The minister said that for people left out from the food security scheme, the state government would make arrangement to give rice at cheaper price.

The union government had asked all states and union territories to implement the NFSA from September. But, according to a central government report, the NFSA has been implemented by only 13 states and two union territories.

Most northeastern states are yet to complete the computerisation of the entire TPDS and setting up call centres, both mandatory to implement the Act.

Under the NFSA, which came into force on July 5, 2013, each eligible person would get 5 kg food grain a month at Rs.3 per kg for rice, Rs.2 per kg for wheat and Re.1 per kg for coarse cereals through the state governments.

The NFSA entitles up to 75 percent of the rural population and up to 50 percent of the urban population to receive food grain at subsidised prices.

The NFSA was passed by parliament when the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government was in power at the Centre. The deadline for implementing the same has been extended thrice.

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