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18 states & UTs fail to meet deadline for food law roll out

The law was passed by Parliament in 2013 and state governments were given one year to implement the scheme.

PTI|
Updated: Oct 01, 2015, 05.12 PM IST
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The law was passed by Parliament in 2013 and state governments were given one year to implement the scheme.
The law was passed by Parliament in 2013 and state governments were given one year to implement the scheme.
NEW DELHI: As many as 18 states and Union Territories including Gujarat failed to meet the September 30 deadline for rolling out the landmark National Food Security law, depriving a large section of the poor from availing highly subsidised foodgrains.

A same number of states/UTs have implemented the law. Telangana, Uttarakhand, Jharkhand, Tripura, Lakshadweep and Puducherry have managed to do so at the last moment.

The law was passed by Parliament in 2013 and state governments were given one year to implement the scheme. Since then, the deadline has been extended thrice with the latest one ending yesterday.

The food law provides legal entitlement to 5 kg of subsidised foodgrains per person every month at Rs 1-3 kg to two-thirds of India's population.

"50 per cent of the total states and UTs in the country have not yet implemented the law despite giving more than two years time. The deadline for it expired yesterday and it has not been extended further," a senior Food Ministry official told PTI.

As things stand, 18 states and UTs have rolled out the Food law, of which Delhi, Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Punjab, Rajasthan, Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Chandigarh, Lakshadweep, Puducherry, Tripura, Telangana, Uttarakhand and Jharkhand have implemented it fully, while West Bengal has done so partially.

The official said as many as 10 states are expected to implement the law before December, while states, especially Tamil Nadu and Kerala have sought time till March 2016.

Many states/UTs have not implemented the law despite several warnings that the Centre will stop allocation of additional foodgrains to APL and BPL families under the public distribution system (PDS) to those states which fail to implement the law.

The Centre has allocated additional foodgrains to BPL and APL category for first six months of this year and is yet to take a call whether to allocate 30 lakh tonnes of additional rice and wheat for remaining six months.

According to experts, the delay in implementation of food law in some states has been mainly due to problems related to identification of key beneficiaries. States are finding it difficult to exclude some beneficiaries so as to include the most vulnerable sections.

At present, the Centre is allocating foodgrains to 18 states/UTs as per the new food law, while the rest are getting foodgrains quota as per earlier PDS norms.
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