4 Cong states go ahead with food security plans

CHANDIGARH (TIP): The UPA’s much touted Food Security Scheme aimed at ensuring that “no Indian goes to bed hungry” was simultaneously rolled out in four Congress-ruled states in North India. Congress president Sonia Gandhi rolled out the scheme in New Delhi, while Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda launched a customised scheme, covering nearly half the state’s population, at a special function in Panipat. Unveiling the scheme by handing over food grain packets and Aadharbased smart cards to 12 women beneficiaries in the Capital, Sonia Gandhi said: “We made the (food security) scheme so that nobody remains hungry in the country and no one’s child sleeps hungry. Giving food security in such a large scale is unparalleled in the world.” The other two states that announced the implementation of similar schemes today were Uttarakhand and Rajasthan.

Rice, wheat and other foodgrain would be provided to the needy under these schemes The rolling out the schemes coincided with the 70th birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. Himachal Pradesh was also scheduled to launch the scheme today, but it decided to postpone it by a week till the discussion on the Food Security Bill got over in Parliament. In Delhi, around 73.5 lakh people out of a population of 1.68 crore would benefit from the scheme. In the first phase, all Below Poverty Line (BPL) families, Above Poverty Line (APL) families and Jhughi Ration Card (JRC) holders would benefit, beside beneficiaries under the Antodaya Anna Yojna (AAY). It has also been decided to include homeless, daily wage-earners, ragpickers, people living in resettlement colonies and slum clusters under the scheme.

In Haryana, nearly half of the state’s population would benefit from the two schemes that have been rolled out simultaneously. Chief Minister Hooda said the scheme was simultaneously launched in every district of the state by the minister in charge for the particular district. Initially, 90.28 lakh people from rural areas and 36.21 lakh people from towns and cities will benefit. The beneficiaries are those that fall under the Antodaya Anna Yojana (AAY), the Central Below Poverty Line (CBPL) and the State Below Poverty Line (SBPL). Haryana and Delhi were among the first states to clear such schemes and have implemented these ahead of passing of the Food Security Bill in Parliament. Haryana has also started a “Dal- Roti Scheme”. An announcement to this effect was made by Hooda today. Under this scheme, 12.4 lakh BPL families will get 2.5 kg dal at Rs 20 per kg. The scheme is currently held up due to a litigation in the high court. Hooda said the AAY beneficiaries would get 35 kg foodgrain every month at the rate of Rs 2 per kg whereas priority households would be given 5 kg foodgrain per person per month at the rate of Rs 2 per kg. Around 126.49 lakh people would be covered under the newly rolled out scheme in the state, Hooda said. Around 70 %of India’s population would be targeted under the Food Security Bill.

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