Centre’s PDS Subsidy Release “Irregular”: Odisha CM

Bhubaneswar: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Wednesday termed the centre’s release of advance subsidy for Public Distribution System (PDS) to the state as “irregular”, despite his government submitting “utilisation certificates” to claim the same.

In a letter to Union Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Minister Ram Vilas Paswan, Patnaik urged him to take measures for “one time clearance” of the outstanding amount to the state at the earliest.

While Odisha government has been furnishing utilisation certificates to claim quarterly provisional subsidy of public distribution system (PDS), the Centre’s funding has been “irregular and un-patterned”, the letter said.

Due to delay in release of subsidy as agreed in October 2015, Odisha State Civil Supplies Corporation has an outstanding liability of Rs 2,123 crore towards provisional subsidy from 2017-18, Patnaik said.

“The advance subsidy as due to the state for the quarter ending September 30, is Rs 1,345 crore. The delay in release of funds has resulted in increased bank borrowing and interest burden on Odisha State Civil Supplies Corporation,” he said in the letter.

He also said the state government undertakes procurement of paddy on behalf of the central government through its agencies and being a decentralised procurement state since 2003-04, Odisha meets its requirement under the Targeted Public Distribution System and other Welfare Schemes.

The responsibility assigned by the centre comprises procurement, storage and distribution and the cost pertaining to the entire operations consists of minimum support price, taxes as payable and other incidental expenditure incurred in acquisition and distribution, the letter stated.

“The MoU between Odisha and the Centre for this purpose in October 2015 lays mechanism for zero financial liability on the procuring agencies with regard to permissible items of cost to be borne by the central government,” Patnaik pointed out.

It is “mandatory” as per the agreed terms and conditions that the anticipated cost will be released “in form of advance subsidy at the rate of 90 per cent of admissible claim on quarterly basis in the first month of every quarter”, he mentioned in the letter.

Patnaik further said, the state government will be paid quarterly provisional subsidy on deduction of the advanced amount.

“Hence, I would seek your personal attention to the subject and request to take measures for one time clearance of outstanding dues of the state (including the interest burden which is due to delay release of subsidy) at the earliest and take measures for adherence to the stipulation of MoU in the matter of release of advance and provisional subsidy to Odisha,” he added.