Guwahati, Aug. 9: The ruling Congress in Assam will launch a statewide promotional blitzkrieg to showcase the Centre’s ambitious food security scheme at the grassroots from Monday, the day the bill is taken up for discussion in Parliament.
The PCC has lined up a meeting in each of the 27 districts, starting with Tinsukia on Monday and culminating in Goalpara on August 30.
Each DCC meeting will be attended by its observers and resource persons as well as PCC secretary and general secretaries in charge of their respective districts.
According to a schedule released by PCC president Bhubaneswar Kalita, 11 ministers have been asked to showcase the benefits of the scheme which will ensure the right to food to 84.17 per cent of the rural population and 60.35 per cent of urban population once it is introduced in the state on November 19.
The ministers who will address the district conferences are Prithibi Majhi, Nazrul Islam, Rakibul Hussain, Himanta Biswa Sarma, Pradyut Bordoloi, Siddique Ahmed, Nilamani Sen Deka, Basanta Das, Gautam Roy, Ajit Singh and Khorsingh Engti.
A section of the PCC feels “more teeth” should be added to the list of speakers/resource persons because the scheme needs to be conveyed in a manner which is easily understood by party workers and office-bearers so that they have no problem in communicating it to the people.
Asked if there could be additions to the list, Kalita told The Telegraph that the number of resource persons might go up if the district in-charge feels the need for it.
The scheme, which will ensure 35kg of rice at Rs 3 a kg for a household, among other benefits, is being seen as a potential game-changer for the party in the 2014 general elections, just like the national rural employment guarantee scheme in 2009. The food security scheme also has benefits for pregnant women and children between six months and 14 years of age.
The group of ministers set up by chief minister Tarun Gogoi cleared the guidelines for implementing the scheme early this week. It is now awaiting the cabinet’s approval. Instructions have been issued to deputy commissioners to prepare a list of beneficiaries whose incomes do not exceed Rs 1 lakh a year.
Shyam Lal Mewara, principal secretary in the food and civil supplies department, said the nitty-gritties have been finalised for rolling out the scheme that ensures right to food. “The criteria for identification has been finalised. The priority will be poorest of the poor and then we will move upwards,” he added.
PCC spokesperson Mehdi Alam Bora said party workers have to be vigilant to ensure that the scheme is implemented properly and timely.
“We have to ensure that genuine beneficiaries are included in the list, that the state government discharges its obligations under the scheme and helps expedite its implementation. People have to be made aware of the benefits of the scheme,” he said, reading out from a booklet prepared by the PCC on the National Food Security Ordinance.