Odisha CM urges PM to release food grains, funds under Annapurna scheme

Bhubaneswar: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Tuesday requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to direct the concerned ministries to release food grains and funds under the Annapurna scheme.

The Chief Minister requested to issue instructions to the concerned ministries for early release of food grains and funds relating to the previous years and ensure timely release of allocation in future for the smooth running of the scheme.

“It is a matter of concern that for the year 2016-17 and 2017-18 no allocation of food grains has been received by the state from the Department of Food and Public Distribution,” informed the Chief Minister in a letter to the Prime Minister.

“Further, no funds have been received from the Ministry of Rural Development for the year 2017-18,” said Patnaik.

The Ministry of Rural Development is the nodal ministry of Government of India and they release the funds for the operation of the scheme. At the same time, Department of Food and Public Distribution, Ministry of Consumer Affairs releases allotment of food grains.

Under the Annapurna scheme, 10 kg of rice is provided free of cost to those senior citizens who, though eligible, but have not been covered under the National Old Age Pension Scheme. In Odisha, 64,800 old people are covered under Annapurna scheme.

“In order to avoid inconvenience to the eligible old people and to ensure that their food security is taken care of, the state continues to meet the entire allocation of food grains out of the state pool, which is causing an additional financial burden on the state,” said the Chief Minister.