Odisha Govt Seeks Early Release Of Pending Food Subsidy By Centre

Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government has written to the Centre to release the pending food subsidy to the state to ensure smooth management of paddy procurement process.

In a letter to Piyush Goyal, Union Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution on Monday, Odisha Minister of Food Supplies & Consumer Welfare Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak said Odisha is yet to receive food subsidy from the Centre amounting to Rs 14,249.07 crore. It includes Rs 5,027.36 crore of provisional subsidy claim upto 3rd quarter and Rs 1469.78 crore of unpaid advance subsidy claim for 4th quarter of 2022-23 financial year.

“The anticipated cost is required to be released in the form of an advance subsidy at the rate of 90% of admissible claims on a quantity basis in the first month of every quarter. Further, the state government/Odisha Civil Supplies Corporation Ltd (OSCSC) will be paid quarterly provisional subsidy after deduction of the advance amount,” the letter reads.

Nayak said as per the MoU signed with the OSCSC, there has to be zero financial liability on the procuring agencies with regard to permissible items of cost to be borne by Central government. The Corporation is the nodal agency of the state that procures paddy at Minimum Support Price (MSP) from the farmers and undertakes distribution of food grains under NFSA and other Welfare Schemes.

Nayak further said as per the Standing Operating Procedure (SOP) issued by DFPD in respect of BRL rice stock on Dt 16.07.2021, there are provisions for replacement of stock by rice miller followed by certification by the joint team which is to be completed within 6 weeks. The certificate of replacement is a mandatory document for the release of subsidy to the State.

But abnormal delay is being done for inspection by DFPD officials which causes hindrance for receipt of subsidy in respect of BRL rice stock, Nayak said. “The delay and short release of subsidy has put OSCSC in tremendous financial hardship due to non-recoupment of interest and liquidity crunch to manage the procurement operations,” he added.

The Odisha minister said since all the resources including the sanctioned limit of bank finance have already been exhausted, further paddy procurement may be severely affected if, the subsidy from the Centre is not received at the earliest.

Considering these factors, Nayak sought the Union Minister’s intervention for the release of the pending subsidy due to the state and release of provisional subsidy and advance subsidy claim at the earliest.

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