Food security sop

Bhubaneswar: The Naveen Patnaik government is planning to provide edible oil, salt and finger millet - considered one of the most nutritious cereals - to the poor at subisidised rates under the food security scheme.

It plans to implement a food security scheme on line of the National Food Security (NFS) programme.

"Work is on to prepare a detailed plan to this effect. We will bring it in the coming annual budget for 2018-19. The chief secretary has already given his consent to this effect. We are now examining the cost burden on the state exchequer on this account. For larger benefit of the poor, the state government will certainly implement the scheme," said a senior official.

He said: "Until and unless formal announcement is made to this effect, we cannot divulge the details. It has not yet been decided about the price. But, the state government may spend Rs 1,200 crore to Rs 1,500 crore."

Sources said the state government decided to distribute finger millet, known as ragi as it was the favourite food for tribal people.

Finger millet is considered as one of the most nutritious cereals, containing about 5 to 8 per cent protein, 1 to 2 per cent ether extractives, 65 to 75 per cent carbohydrates, 15 to 20 per cent dietary fibre and 2.5 to 3.5 per cent minerals.

Sources said the Centre had also given its signal to the state government's proposal to distribute the edible oil in small pouches.

However, it will be packed under the Food Safety Standards (Packing and Labelling) Regulation, 2011, and all standard procedures have to be followed.

Besides those, who have left out from the central programme, will also avail themselves of the benefit of rice at Re 1 per kg.

The cheap rice scheme has so far given a rich political divided to the Naveen government since 2009. So far, 86,32,884 families have been included under the national scheme. But, 15 lakh to 20 lakh people have been left out.


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