Odisha way ahead in food security: Naveen

New Delhi: Even as the UPA government weighs options for the passage of the Food Security Bill, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Tuesday said his state was "way ahead" in ensuring food security for its people.

"In Odisha, we provide 25 kg of rice every month at Rs one…we have already gone way ahead," he told reporters here when asked if he supports the legislation.

Patnaik, who was here to attend a meeting with the Planning Commission to finalise the annual plan allocation for the state, told reporters after the meeting that the issue of according the special category status for the state was discussed with Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia.

"We reiterated very strongly for a special category state," he said adding, the state "meets all the criteria except having an international boundary".

In this regard, he talked about plans to hold a rally here on June 12 "to strengthen the state's demand" and put pressure on the Centre.

BJD vice president Kalpataru Das had earlier said that his party will hold a Swabhimaan rally in New Delhi on June 12 to press for Odisha's demand for special category status.

Asked about the state's demand, Ahluwalia said the Finance Minister in his budget speech had announced setting up a committee to look into the entire gamut of the criterion of special category state.

"…when it is the question of backwardness, then it is really the Backward Region Grants Fund which Odisha gets a substantial amount.." he said.

"I am not in a position to reject anything but I am only clarifying. This issue was raised by the CM and I have not responded as such. I think the CM is aware of our constraints," he said.
 

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