Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has requested the Centre for release of food subsidy to the state for timely payment to farmers.
In a letter to Union Consumer Affairs Minister Ram Vilas Paswan, Patnaik wrote that Odisha’s food subsidy bill of Rs 3,654.41 crore was pending with the Department of Food and Public Distribution (DFPD).
“It is a matter of concern that Odisha’s subsidy bill amounting to Rs 3,654.41 crore (which includes the advance subsidy up to March 2019) is pending with the DFPD. Such a huge pendency is causing shortage of funds at the Odisha State Civil Supplies Corporation (OSCSC), which may hinder timely payment to farmers,” he said.
The OSCSC, a state PSU, procures paddy on behalf of the government. It borrows money from banks to pay the cost of the paddy directly to the farmers.
While Rs 7,600 crore was paid to farmers last year, the payments this year have already crossed more than Rs 6,000 crore, informed Patnaik.
OSCSC is on the verge of reaching its credit limit, he added.
“To ensure adequate funds with the OSCSC for payment to farmers, it is essential that the DFPD regularly releases the food subsidy to the government of Odisha,” said the Chief Minister.