Source: News Bharati English28 Jun 2016 14:14:42

Kohima, June 28: The north eastern state of Nagaland is finally set to implement the National Food Security Act, after three years after adoption in 2013. The Act will be implemented in Dimapur and Kohima districts with effect from July 1 and by August next, the NFSA will cover the remaining 9 districts. Nagaland Chief Minister, TR Zeliang, who officially launched the ambitious pro-poor scheme at Food & Civil Supplies office on Monday, termed the NFSA 2013 as a “landmark” in the history of the country and “one of the most important legislations” passed by Parliament.Zeliang said the Act could not be implemented right away in many states due to tussle between the State Governments and Centre over cost of transportation of the highly subsidized food grains. While the Centre insisted that the respective State Governments should bear cost of transportation of food grains from FCI godowns to designated Point of Sale (PoS), many resource-crunched states including Nagaland argued that they would not be able to bear the additional financial load, Zeliang said.

In the case of Nagaland, Zeliang said the State had to bargain hard with the Centre as every year the State Government has to pay Rs. 12 crores on transportation of food grains if it were to implement the Act. The Chief Minister said in June 2014, the State Government wrote to the Centre requesting the latter to provide transport subsidy to the hilly state to which the Centre conceded a little and suggested that the Centre and Nagaland should bear the transportation cost on 50:50 basis, news agency The Morung Express reported.

Zeliang informed that the State Government wrote back saying it could not accept the offer due to financial crunch and moreover the state Food & Civil Supplies (F&CS) department had done away with its transport vehicles a long time back. “At last the Government of India understood our problem and agreed to bear 75 percent of transportation charges and that the State Government had to bear remaining 25 percent. We have no option left and so we agreed”, he said.

After settling the transportation issue, Zeliang who is also Minister in-charge of F&CS said the department went on a war footing to complete all formalities and criteria including setting up of State Food Commission and vigilance committee and grievances redressal mechanism at the district levels for launching the Act. He said in the process, the department also had to overcome a lot of hurdles including lack of infrastructure such as godowns and storage, power back up, internet connectivity. The Chief Minister cautioned that transparency at all levels would be maintained in implementation of NFSA to ensure that the highly subsidized food grains reach the genuine beneficiaries.

Zeliang also solicited the cooperation of the public as a whole for effective implementation of NFSA in the state. Director of Food & Civil Supplies, Alun Hangsing, in his introductory address on NFSA 2013 said as per the Act, APL and BPL beneficiaries would be amalgamated under the nomenclature of Priority Household (PHH).

The Director said under the Act, the department is supposed to cover 79.83 % of the rural populace and 61.98% of the urban populace in the state. “Today, under the PPH we have 2,37,434 households with an increase of 44,464 household with a female member as the head of the family in the PHH ration card covering 11, 93,922 individual beneficiaries. Here it may be mentioned that together with the 2,12, 034 AAY beneficiaries, the department will be covering altogether 14,05,956 beneficiaries out of the state’s total of 19,78, 502 as per Census 2011”, he informed.

The Director further informed that henceforth, allocation of food grains would be made online by uploading everything related on public domain so one can easily check out by logging into the department website, which is also linked to the national portal. Under the Act, the identified PPH shall be provided 5kg of subsidized food grains per head at the rate of Rs. 3 per kg of rice and Rs. 2 per kg of wheat in the ration of 4:1.