Assam Accuses Centre of Blocking Food Security Measures Before Polls
NEW DELHI: The Assam government has accused the Centre of trying to deliberately stop rolling out the National Food Security Act (NFSA) in Assam before the state assembly elections in 2016.
Stating this at the Assembly on Thursday, Food and Civil Supplies minister Nazrul Islam said “ We have some limitations. We will tell these to the Centre. If they still hold on to it, that means they do not want to do this. As Assam is going for polls in 2016, they want us to stop from launching NFSA intentionally”.
He informed the Assembly that the NDA government introduced a new and a ‘difficult’ clause of doing end-to-end computerisation before the launch of NFSA. “This clause of computerisation was not there in the original Act. When UPA government was there, 11 states already rolled out the scheme,” Islam said.
The Minister also voiced his concern about how this end-to-end computerisation is a very difficult task in Assam since it would mean digitisation of all cooperative societies, which was onerous as many of them do not even have electricity connections.
However, Islam quickly added that despite this, 75 % of the cards have already been computerised across the state and the entire process would be completed within the next few months.
The NFSA issue had also been raised earlier at the Assembly.
Keshab Mahanta, an MLA of Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) had earlier questioned why there was a delay in launching the scheme in the state when other states were already reaping the benefits of the Food Security Act.
“Is it because of the inefficiency of the public distribution system in the state or some other reasons?, Mahanta asked, adding “We have seen in recent times that the Centre is creating lots of problems for Assam”.
The Food and Supplies Minister agreed to the fact that there were leakages in the PDS but assured of rectifying the issue. He further requested all the MLAs to keep a vigil in their respective constituencies for the same in order to help the government in checking it.
Meanwhile, Islam also made sure to mention the fact during one of the discussions that in compliance with the orders of the Guwahati High Court, the state government had already started giving subsidised food grains to tea garden labourers; trying to further explain the need for the quick launch of the NFSA in the state.