Bhubaneswar: Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare (FS&CW) Minister Ranendra Pratap Swain, Wednesday, met his counterpart at the Centre Ram Vilas Paswan and demanded immediate release of food subsidy dues amounting Rs 3,406 crore for the state.
In his memorandum to Union Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Minister Paswan, Swain said, “Due to delay in release of subsidy, the Odisha State Civil Supplies Corporation (OSCSC) has incurred an outstanding liability of Rs 2,066 crore as receivable provisional subsidy in 2019-20 fiscal. Further, advance subsidy due to the state for the quarter ending December is about Rs 1,340 crore.”
Stating that the delay in release of funds has led to increased bank borrowings and interest burden on the OSCSC, the minister demanded the Centre to bear the interest burden.
The state government undertakes paddy procurement on behalf of the Centre through its several agencies. Odisha, which is a decentralised procurement state since 2003-04, meets its annual requirements of 24 lakh tonne under Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) and other welfare schemes being run in the state as per allocations made by the Centre.
The state contributes the remaining balance of rice to the Central pool. The state government has provided 17.84 lakh tones of rice to the Food Corporation of India (FCI) last year while the amount will go up further this year, he said.
As per the agreement between the state and the Centre, it is mandatory that the anticipated cost will be released in the form of advance subsidy at 90 per cent of admissible claim on quarterly basis in the first month of each quarter. Further, the state government/designated agency shall be paid quarterly provisional subsidy on deduction of the advanced amount.
Besides, Swain also urged Paswan to make provision in the Consumer Protection Act, 2019 sot that the cost of salaries of members of state and district consumer dispute redressal forums is met by the Centre.