Hyderabad: The ordinance issued by the Centre on Food Security programme came as a shot in the arm for the Congress-led state government which has been implementing its own version of ‘food security schemes’ on a massive scale.
The Centre’s food security programme will enable the government to cut its massive subsidy burden with the financial assistance from the Centre.
Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy has launched two ambitious food security programmes of his government since the beginning of this year in the form of “Mana Biyyam” to provide quality rice for just Rs 1 per kg through ration shops for over 2.26 crore white ration card holders, on the occasion of “Sankranthi” in January this year.
Similarly, he launched his government’s prestigious programme “Amma Hastham” to prove 9 essential commodities in a packet for just Rs 185 on the occasion of “Ugadi” for over 2.26 crore white card holders in April this year.
While Mana Biyyam has been imposing a subsidy burden of Rs 9,600 crore per annum, it is Rs 660 crore burden per year on Amma Hastham on the state exchequer.
The government is struggling to mobilise financial resources for these two schemes, which are being publicised as the flagship programmes of Kiran Kumar Reddy's government in the run up to the general elections in 2014.
"The ordinance on food security will enable the state government to seek financial assistance from the Centre. This will reduce financial burden on the state government. We can procure higher quality food products and implement the schemes more effectively for the benefit of poor and needy.
We expect the financial burden on state government to reduce by half with the Centre's financial assistance," said D.Sridhar Babu, the minister for civil supplies.
However, the state government is seeking certain amendments in implementing the food security programme with regard to income limit to cover more number of beneficiaries.