Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Saturday announced that the state government would implement its own food security act from October 2 this year. Odisha’s own food security act would cover nearly 34.44 lakh people who have been left out from the National Food Security Act (NFSA), he said.
Patnaik made this announcement while participating in the ‘Ama Mukhyamantri, Ama Katha’ (Our Chief Minister, Our Issues) programme in Bhubaneswar. “My government has always given importance to the food security of the poor. We have been providing rice at Rs 2 per kg since 2008. The success of the programme prompted the decision to launch rice at Re 1 per kg for people living below poverty line in 2013. This was a big step towards food security in the country,” Patnaik said.
Patnaik said lakhs of poor were being deprived of benefits under NFSA as the ration was being provided as per the 2011 census. From 2011 to 2018, the number of beneficiaries population has increased, he said. “Not a single poor man will be deprived of his rights once the new Odisha Food act is implemented on Gandhi Jayanti,” Patnaik said.
The chief minister said he had taken up the matter relating to the left out population several times with the Centre but no step was taken to address this concern. Patnaik had written a letter to Prime Minister in this regard on May 23, 2018.
“In 2011 Census data, the rate of growth of population of Odisha was 14 per cent in the last decade. In 2018, the population of Odisha has increased by 10.22 per cent as compared to 2011. It is estimated that the total population of Odisha in 2018 would be 4,62,63,983. Allowing the same percentage of coverage as was decided when the Act came into force, we are entitled to cover 3,60,85,907 beneficiaries under the NFSA Act,” Patnaik had said in his letter to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Patnaik had also requested the prime minister to sanction additional food for 34.44 lakh beneficiaries. He said in 2014, the ruling BJD had promised to implement state’s own food security scheme. Accordingly, it will launch its own Food Security Act from Gandhi Jayanti on October 2.