press trust of india
New Delhi, 1 October
The Centre today said 50 per cent of the states, including those ruled by the BJP, are ready to implement the food law by December as others prepare to roll it out, while some have aired certain concerns.
A Committee of Secretaries will be set up to address the concerns of the states on issues such as framing criteria for identification of beneficiaries and sharing of financial burden among others, it said. “Fifty per cent of states, including those ruled by the BJP, are ready to implement the food law by end of December,” Food Minister K V Thomas said, briefing reporters about the outcome of the meeting with state food ministers on the implementation of the Central food security laws.
Other states are also preparing and eventually everyone will implement the law. “No states have said they will not implement it,” he said.
Highlighting concerns of the states, Mr Thomas said: “One of the main issues was protecting existing allocation. Of the 35 states, 18 would be getting lower than the current allocation. We have assured them that it will be protected.”
On Tamil Nadu’s demand to protect the quantity of grains and price, he said: “Tamil Nadu is worst hit by the food law. We said we will protect their coverage.”
On identification of beneficiaries by the states, the minister said the socio-economic caste census would be available by the end of November for them.
Mr Thomas said states asked the Centre to share the cost of transportation-handling and margin of ration shops dealers.
On this demand, he said the Centre has agreed to share the burden even though some states like Karnataka and Tamil Nadu are fully bearing the cost.