Centre is committed and concerned about the poor and farmers not getting their due: Piyush Goyal

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New Delhi (21/07/2022): The Centre has decided to restore Rice Procurement operations in Central pool (by FCI & by State under DCP) in Telangana, informed Piyush Goyal, Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Commerce and Industry and Textiles while addressing media persons here.

Goyal criticized the Telangana government stating that the state government did not distribute ration to the poor in the month of April and May under Pradhan Mantri Gareeb Kalyan Ann Yojana (PMGKAY) despite repeated reminders from the Centre.

He reiterated that Centre is committed and concerned for the poor and the farmers. Goyal added that through PMGKAY, the central government wants to ensure that no poor person is deprived of their right and get their full entitlement. “The Government of Telangana has already lifted considerable quantity (1.90 LMT) from DCP stocks against April and May, 2022 months, but the same has not been distributed thus depriving benefits to the beneficiaries of the Central Scheme,” the Minister added.

He also shared the observations made by the Central Team during Physical Verification (PV) of Paddy. He said that on 31.03.2022, a list of defaulter millers where shortages had been noticed was communicated to the Telangana State Government to take immediate strict action as 4,53,896 bags were found short in 40 mills. Again on 21.05.2022, other observations were communicated to the State: shortages of total 1,37,872 bags noticed in 63 mills i.e. 12 mills of KMS 2020-21 (Rabi) and 51 mills of KMS 2021-22 (Kharif) and iIn 593 mills i.e. 101 mills of KMS 2020-21(Rabi) and 492 mills of KMS 2021-22 (Kharif), the paddy was not stored in countable position due to which the PV of paddy stocks could not be completed.

Pertinently, the Commissioner of Civil Supplies & Ex.Officio Secretary, Government of Telangana vide letter dated 04.10.2021 had assured that “To overcome the impediments experienced during Physical Verification (PV) of Paddy/rice during KMS 2020-21, State would ensure that the stocks are always kept in a countable position along with proper book-keeping and Standard Operating Procedure (SoP) for the same will be followed”. However, till date no concrete strict action has been taken by the State Government against defaulter millers where shortages have been noticed.

Goyal informed that Telangana needed 36 crore litres additional annual capacity for ethanol blending to go upto 20%. But, the state government did not process it. He said that the processing of the ethanol could have helped farmers, generated jobs for youths and also would have brought investment. It would have also helped in reducing import of petroleum and thereby saved foreign exchange.

Goyal urged the Telangana government to keep the promises made to the poor ensure the entitlement reaches the beneficiaries.

Telangana State has adopted Decentralised system of Procurement wherein State Government procures paddy on behalf of Govt. of India. Paddy is procured by the State through its agencies from farmers. The resultant rice, after milling, is retained by the State for its own consumption under NFSA/ OWS and only surplus rice stock is delivered to FCI under Central Pool. All the expenditure for procurement and distribution for central schemes are borne by the Govt. of India.

As a procedure, physical verification of paddy stocks was conducted by the joint teams of State Government and FCI to ascertain the availability of paddy and rice as per the declaration given by the State government. During the physical verification, paddy stocks were found short in various mills. Accordingly, State Government was requested to initiate action on the defaulter millers where paddy was found short during the PV exercises. However, no concrete action was initiated by the State Government till the month of June.

The Civil Supplies department of Government of Telangana had lifted Raw Rice for distribution under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) Phase – VI scheme starting from April 2022, where free foodgrain is being provided by Govt. of India to mitigate the hardships faced by the public due to Covid-19 pandemic, however, the same was not distributed among the beneficiaries till the start of the month of June. Further, the State Government was also not taking proactive action in processing applications for establishment of distilleries in the State, for manufacturing of Ethanol.

Due to inaction on the part of State Government on above issues, it was decided to stop the delivery of Rice in Central Pool with effect from 7th of June in Telangana till the initiation of any concrete action by the State Government.

The Govt. of Telangana has now informed that they have initiated action against the defaulter millers and requisite action will be completed against all the defaulter millers. Further, Chief Secretary, Telangana has intimated that the distribution of Raw Rice under PMGKAY Phase – VI scheme has been started and assured to distribute the entire allocated quantity along with NFSA. Further, State Government has taken steps by issuing instructions to process the applications received for establishment of distilleries for manufacturing of Ethanol.

In view of the assurances and follow up action by the State Govt and in order to safeguard the interest of the farmers and milling industry, Government of India has now restored the delivery of Rice under Central Pool. Govt. of India is always dedicated towards protecting the interest of the farmers and fully committed for their welfare. State Govt. is also advised to fulfil the assurances in true sprit on the above issues which concern the interest of the farmers and the milling industry.

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