States to benefit from Food bill: Thomas

Bhubaneswar: Allaying Odisha's fears over Food Security Ordinance, the Centre on Friday said the state would immensely benefit from the law notwithstanding its poor record of offtake of foodgrains under the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS).
"Compared to other states, Odisha will be benefited in a big way when it implements the food security law through which highly subsidised rice, wheat and coarse cereals will be supplied to 67 per cent of population," Union Minister of State for Food K V Thomas told reporters here.
About 79.04 per cent of rural population in Odisha would be covered under the food security programme as against the national coverage target of 75 per cent of people in villages, Thomas said.
Similarly, while the national coverage in urban areas has been fixed at 50 per cent, around 56.11 per cent of urban population would be covered by the food security scheme, he said adding that compared to the national coverage target, more number of people in Odisha would be benefited.
Stating that he had discussed about the ordinance and food bill with Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, the Union Minister said changes proposed by Odisha government can always be discussed in Parliament when the Bill is taken up there.
Allaying Patnaik's apprehension that Odisha's monthly quota of rice would decline by about 12,000 tons per month once the food security ordinance is implemented, Thomas said whatever Odisha is getting now will be protected.
Earlier, Patnaik had said on the sideline of a function that the state presently gets 1,82,000 MT of rice per month and the quantity will come down to 1,70,000 mt per month once the Ordinance is implemented.
In 2012-13, the total additional allocation of foodgrains for poorest district for Odisha was 2,04,647 tonnes while the offtake stood at 1,12,241 tonnes, barely 54.85 per cent, Thomas said adding offtake from additional BPL allocation during 2011-12 was 59.81 per cent while it was 76.16 per cent in 2012-13.