1. After LPG success, Narendra Modi government wants public to give up food subsidies

After LPG success, Narendra Modi government wants public to give up food subsidies

Buoyed by the success of the Give-It-Up campaign that coaxed over 1 crore households to forgo the subsidy on cooking gas, the Centre has written to all state governments seeking their support for a similar scheme to cut its rising food subsidy bill.

By: | New Delhi | Published: April 25, 2017 7:15 AM
The Centre’s food subsidy budget has increased 61% to Rs 1.45 lakh crore (budget estimate) for the current fiscal from Rs 89,740 crore in 2013-14. (Reuters)

Buoyed by the success of the Give-It-Up campaign that coaxed over 1 crore households to forgo the subsidy on cooking gas, the Centre has written to all state governments seeking their support for a similar scheme to cut its rising food subsidy bill. Sources told FE that the Union food ministry in a communication to states has said Give-it-Up should be promoted under the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS). The ministry wants all the 5-lakh-odd fair price shops in the country to display the “real cost of the subsidy” for rice and wheat so that those who can do without the sop could be persuaded to give it up. The Centre expends Rs 21.09 per kg and Rs 29.64 per kg respectively as subsidies on wheat and rice currently.

While the food ministry’s plan is part of the Modi government’s plan to curb the leakages of welfare funds and limit the benefits to the really needy, sources said it would be much more difficult to implement the Give-it-Up scheme for TPDS. As many as 82 crore people — two-thirds of the country’s population — are covered under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) while the LPG subsidy is limited to some 19 crore households.

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Food ministry sources NFSA beneficiary list appears to be “on the higher side”. While NFSA beneficiaries get monthly entitlement of 5 kg of rice, wheat or coarse grains at Rs 3, Rs 2 and Rs 1 per kg, some states like Chhattisgarh, Odisha and Madhya Pradesh give even higher subsidy, at the state governments’ cost. “We are constantly taking steps to ensure that only those who need highly subsidised foodgrains get them through TPDS,” an official said.

The Centre’s food subsidy budget has increased 61% to Rs 1.45 lakh crore (budget estimate) for the current fiscal from Rs 89,740 crore in 2013-14. The government has adopted several measures such as seeding of Aadhaar cards of 23 crore ration card holders, besides installing electronic point of sale (e-PoS) machines at fair price shops (FPSs) to curb diversion of subsidised foodgrains.

While 78% of ration cards have been seeded in the country, e-PoS machines have been installed in around 36% of the FPSs.

Under the voluntary Give-it-Up programme initiated by the petroleum ministry, more than 1 crore LPG consumers (households) have opted to buy cooking gas cylinders at the market price out of the total 20 crore. The subsidy amount is now directly transferred to beneficiaries’ bank accounts.

Food Corporation of India in collaboration with state government-owned agencies procures around 55 to 58 million tonnes of rice and wheat annually. While around 50 mt is allocated to be distributed under NFSA, the rest is stored as buffer stock.

  1. Pankaj Lakhera
    Apr 28, 2017 at 4:33 pm
    After g success of give up gas subsidy.. govt plans similar for food subsidy..Great?Just a thought came why not a give up ry and perks campaign for our Politician who have enough money(let them decide 5-6 Cr)will not take single penny from govt exchequer and this amount will be used in nation development. Wonderful Idea.
    Reply
    1. Virendra Sason
      Apr 25, 2017 at 4:08 pm
      ऐसे दिन कि भूखों का निवाला भी छीनने का समय आ गया है?
      Reply
      1. J
        Jay
        Apr 25, 2017 at 10:10 am
        MAY A million MODIi jIS BLOOM for our Nation
        Reply
        1. Harsh Vardhan
          Apr 25, 2017 at 9:02 am
          Mr.Modi, you& other politicians 1st give up all the subsidies including free travel, free house free telephone, free electricity, free everything for life. Also give up power to raise your own ry and perks. Then rest of Indians will happily give up subsidies. Enough of around the world in eight dollars. Stay at home remove MNF status from Pak. Handle Kashmir & Maoist first. Imature handling of foreign policies by Doval & Co. clearly shows conflicts between bureaucracy and forces.
          Reply
          1. Mittapally Pradeep Kumar
            Apr 25, 2017 at 8:19 am
            The author must be poor in Math. 19 crore house holds equals 19x5 90 crore people. It's more than PDS subsidy.
            Reply
            1. R
              RN Sharma
              Apr 25, 2017 at 8:16 am
              Our honourable PM should try to persuade MPS and MLAS to give up LPG subsidies and Food Subsidies Many elected leaders live like kings with Scant respect for citizens They r available mainly for perks and allowances This is not a sweeping remark We can always identify great leaders with great heart among them They are of course scant All are interested in Photo ops rather than working for people Therefore I feel charity should begin from Home It will be difficult for all our NETAS to shed Feudalistic mind and give up subsidies Most not all think they are special not like common man They think they require special privileges to call them as NETAS lest they are ordinary Our common man and most of the NETAS are not mature enough to understand NETAS have a boundenduty to serve the downtrodden and look at all beyond cast creed society Hope we will have such NEtas like MODIji who has a vision who feels the pain of the poor tries to do the best for them risking his life
              Reply
              1. P
                PK Kamra.
                Apr 25, 2017 at 8:01 am
                Will the Govt start by totally cutting subsidy for parliamentarians in the parliament canteen for the foods they eat there?
                Reply
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