Odishatv Bureau

Bhubaneswar: The Odisha cabinet approved as many as 19 proposals at a meeting held on Thursday evening. The cabinet meeting which was chaired by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik approved the Food and Procurement Policy for Kharif Marketing Season 2016-17.

In the policy, the state government has set a tentative target of collecting 30 lakh metric tonne rice (in terms of paddy, it would be 44 lakh metric tonne) during the entire year covering Kharif and Rabi procurement.

In KMS (Kharif Marketing Season) 2014-15 and 2015-16, the state government had collected 35.46 lakh tonne rice and 34.43 lakh tonne respectively, said Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare Minister Sanjay Dasburma.

The cabinet, however, authorised the department to revise the target if the need arises.

"Kharif paddy will be procured during the period from November 2016 to March 2017 and Rabi paddy during May and June 2017," said the minister.

Paddy will be procured from the farmers who are registered in the online portal of Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare (FS&CW) department, he added.

Paddy will be procured as per the Minimum Support Price (MSP) declared by the Centre. While Rs 1,470 would be provided per quintal for common paddy, Rs 1,510 per quintal would be provided for grade-A variety, said the minister.

The paddy would be collected through paddy procurement automation system (P-PAS), ensuring 100 per cent documentation through a computerised system.

The farmers, who have no Aadhaar card, can also sell their paddy.

Nearly 9 lakh farmers "have already registered in the paddy procurement process, while 7.93 lakh farmers have been issued Aadhaar cards. The process of Aadhaar card generation would be completed by October end," said Dasburma.

Payment of farmers' dues would be transferred by state agencies to their bank accounts through electronic mode, he added.

The cabinet also approved the extension of value added tax (VAT) relaxation on pulses and all kinds of dals for another three months.

The state government had in July reduced VAT from 5 per cent to 1 per cent for a period of three months.

Besides, the Chief secretary informed that the proposal to set up a 100-bedded for mother and children care hospital in Kendrapara at a cost of Rs 110 crore was also approved by the Cabinet.

Moreover, a bridge on Mahanadi River to connect Athmallcik and Boudh would be built at a cost of Rs 168 crore within a time frame of 36 months.

The Cabinet also decided to exempt VAT for pani panchayat’s in State.

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