Around 27 lakh Scheduled Caste (SC) and Scheduled Tribe (ST) families will benefit from Bihar government's decision to include all SC and ST families under the National Food Security Act (NFSA), state food minister Shayam Rajak said today.
The state government would incur Rs 23.82 crore annually on this count, Rajak said in a statement here.
The state cabinet in a decision last night also kept off those SC and ST families who pay service tax or possess a three or more room house with concrete roof from the benefits of the subsidised food legislation.
The minister, who conducted a review meeting of his department today, ordered district supply officers to provide subsidised food grains to these families at the earliest.
Union Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Ram Vilas Paswan had talked about receiving numerous complaints of people not being included in the list of beneficiaries and had criticised the Bihar government for not covering all eligible people under the NFSA.
Paswan had asked the Bihar government to fulfil all conditions of NFSA by December 31 this year or face action.
He had also said out of total 8.71 crore beneficiaries, Bihar had identified only 7.6 crore till now.
Rebutting opposition BJP charge, the Bihar Food and Civil Supplies minister said paddy procurement centres have been opened at identified venues and necessary items like sacks, measurements and moisture metres provided to them.
He warned strict action against officials who reject purchase of paddy on the ground that it contains more than 17 per cent moisture.
Rajak said the state government has ordered to pay the farmers within 48 hours of procurement of their paddy failing which action would be taken against officials concerned.
The minister added during the review meeting that the state food corporation had lifted about 60 per cent of the allocation of grains for PDS for the current month till now.