Union Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan today said the Centre is ready to make available unmilled tur dal to states at Rs 60 a kg and urad at Rs 82 per kg, which should provide enough room to state governments to sell pulses below Rs 120 a kg.
“By purchasing pulses at this rate and getting it milled after spending a little more, a state can provide pulses to its people at a rate not above Rs 120 per kg and even after this if prices cross Rs 120 a kg, blame lies with the state,” Paswan said while addressing a seminar of the Ministry of Food and Consumer Affairs.
He lamented as to why his home state Bihar was not purchasing pulses at this price from the Centre to give relief to people from soaring prices.
In order to build stock of pulses, Paswan said his Ministry has acquired 55,000 tonnes of pulses, out of which 26,000 tonnes was imported.
Blaming hoarding as one of the prime factors for prices of pulses going through the roof, the Minister said as part of an intensive drive launched recently 87,000 tonnes of illegally stocked pulses were seized in Maharashtra, while 23,000 tonnes of pulses was found in raids in Karnataka.
Hailing the NDA government’s functioning, he said 34 states and Union Territories have been covered under the National Food Security Act (NFSA), under which wheat was made available to beneficiaries at Rs 2 a kg and rice at Rs 3 per kg, while the Centre was acquiring wheat at Rs 23.47 a kg and rice at Rs 29.67 per kg.
“Nagaland will be included in the scheme in July and the southern states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala will become part of it after the state elections,” Paswan said.
“The Nitish Kumar government is not spending anything and instead of thanking the Narendra Modi government, it falsely claims of providing wheat at Rs 2 a kg and rice at Rs 3 per kg to its people,” he said alleging, Bihar was not lifting food grain on time for distribution under the NFSA and there was widespread leakage of food grain due to “rampant corruption.”
“While 17-18 states have complete computerisation of its PDS outlets, the same is a mere 0.006 per cent in Bihar,” he said.
Secretary Food and Consumer Affairs Brinda Swaroop said the nation has a current foodstock of 516 lakh metric tonnes.
Out of this, eastern states like Bihar, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and Assam contributed 61 lakh tonnes of rice, she added.