Odisha Minister Asks Centre to Release Pending Food Subsidy to State 

Bhubaneswar: Odisha Food, Supplies and Consumer Welfare Minister Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak on Tuesday wrote to Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution Piyush Goyal seeking release of pending food subsidy due to the State.

The Odisha Minister said that huge amount of outstanding food subsidy remains receivable from the Government of India totaling to Rs. 14,249.07 crore including Rs. 5,027.36 crore of provisional subsidy claim upto 3rd quarter and Rs. 1469.78 crore of unpaid advance subsidy claim bill for 4th quarter of this financial year 2022-23.

As per Standing Operating Procedure(SOP) dated 16.07.2021 issued by DFPD, GoI in respect of BRL rice stock, there is provisions for replacement of stock by rice miller followed by certification by the Joint team which is to be completed within six weeks. The certificate of replacement is a mandatory document for 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. It requires your intervention for timely inspection by DFPD officials in the matter of BRL rice stocks and streamline the process, Nayak mentioned in the letter.

The delay and short release of subsidy has put OSCSC Ltd. in tremendous financial hardship on two accounts, firstly due to non-recoupment of interest and liquidity crunch to manage the procurement operations, he further stated.

Odisha Civil Supplies Corporation Ltd., the nodal agency of the State procures paddy at Minimum Support Price (MSP) from the farmers and undertakes distribution of food grains under NFSA and other Welfare Schemes.

As per MoU there has to be zero financial liability on the procuring agencies with regard to permissible items of cost to be borne by Govt. of India. The anticipated cost is required to be released in the form of advance subsidy at the rate of 90% of admissible claim on quantity basis in the first month of every quarter. Further, the State Government/ OSCSC shall be paid quarterly provisional subsidy after deduction of advance amount. But, the release of advance and provisional subsidy to Odisha is highly irregular, he further stated.

Since all the resources including sanctioned limit of bank finance have already been exhausted, further paddy procurement may be severely affected if, the subsidy from GoI is not received at the earliest, the Odisha Minister stated.

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