IMPHAL, April 25: The much awaited National Food SecurityAct, (NFSA) 2013 was officially launch today in the State by Chief Minister Okram Ibobi Singh at the office premises of the Directorate of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution (CAF&PD), at Sangaiprou, Imphal.
Marking the launch of the NFSA, the Chief Minister along with deputy Chief Minister, Gaikhangam, CAF&PD Minister, L Biren, jointly flagged off rice loaded vehicles from the campus to be distributed to Fair Price Shop (FPS) opened in different areas of Imphal.
The launch function held at Sangaiprou was also attended by IFC minister, Ngamthang Haokip, Commerce and Industries ministers, Govindas Konthoujam, Tengnoupal MLA, DK Korungthang, Agriculture minister, Md Abdul Nasir, Chief Secretary, O Nabakishore, MLAs and officials of the CAF&PD department.
Speaking on the occassion, the Chief Minister stated that the NSFA although was passed by the parliament on September 2013, the Act could not be implemented in maximum of the States in the country including Manipur due to extra financial involvment in implementing the Act.
Taking into serious consideration the benefit once the Act is implemented, his government made several attempts to implement the Act but remained futile, he said adding that it was due to non completion of processing of BPL cards for the beneficiaries.
He said 84 percent of total population is eligible for the Act as per 2011 census of which so far 75 percent will be availed with the benefit initially.
He continued the remaining other will also be provided the benefits of the Act soon.
The Chief Minister further appealed to everyone including the politicians to jointly work together to ensure that the deserving citizens get their rights.
Maintaining that there is high chance for misusing the Act considering the profit margin, he further urged all the stake holders to closely monitor the operation adding that anyone found guilty should be dealt with befittingly irrespective of his background or influences.
The Chief Minister also stressed upon the need of the department to carry out mass campaign with regards to the Act.
Deputy Chief Minister, Gaikhangam said that no country or State can be called a developed one unless it has security of food for its people.
He said that the much awaited Act was finally launched owing to the strong initiative of the Chief Minister who often reminded his fellow party members that the Act was a dream of the UPA.
Delivering his key note address, principal secretary (CAF&PD) MH Khan, informed that altogether 11,796.56 MT of rice has been sanctioned by the Centre for implementation of NFSA from the month of April onward which included 2200.415 for AAY and 9596 for Priority households adding that the allocation was given on the request of the State Government to take only rice and convert whatever quota of wheat for Manipur.
Under the NFSA each eligible household will received 3 Kgs of rice at Rs 3 adding that households whose income is below Rs one Lakh per annum will be eligible for the Act.
Maximum of 87 percent of the total population will be covered by the Act but initially only 74.64 (that is 2131652 against 2855794 population).
Unlike the TPDS scheme no transportation fee would be charged from the beneficiaries, said the Principal secretary (CAF&PD).
He added that 75 percent of the fee will be borne by the Centre while remaining 25 percent will be borne by the State for which Rs 30 crore has been incorporated in the current year budget.
Maintaining that all those who are left out during preparation of cards in the initial phase will be made avail with the ration by June, he informed that a total of 511210 ration cards is under distribution process in Hills through the concerned SDOs and DDO.