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Free Rice For 1 Yr

Bhubaneswar: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Tuesday announced to provide 5 kg rice free of cost to State Food Security Scheme (SFSS) beneficiaries for one year from January to December, 2023.

The announcement was made in the wake of the Union Cabinet’s decision to distribute free food grains to 81.35 crore beneficiaries of the National Food Security Act (NFSA) for one year.

According to the sources, the Odisha Government will provide 5-kg entitlement of rice to about 9.05 lakh SFSS beneficiaries free of cost for a period of 12 months from the current month. The State will bear additional Rs. 185 crores for executing the announcement.  

The State Government has been distributing 5 kgs of rice per person per month to the left-out eligible beneficiaries covered under the State Scheme at Re. 1 per kg since October 2018. Now it will be free of cost, the sources said.

In accordance with the Centre’s Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY), these beneficiaries have also been provided with additional rice and pulses during the last 28 months of prevailing Covid-19 pandemic situation in the State.

Besides, Rs. 1000 cash incentive was given to each family covered under NFSA and State Food Security Scheme twice.

Eying the next Lok Sabha election, the Centre has discontinued the MPGKAY and implemented the free food grain scheme for one year from this month. The Government of India will spend around Rs 2 lakh under NFSA in this year.

Notably, the BJD Government had launched the Rs 2 per kg rice scheme under the Public Distribution System (PDS) ahead of the Assembly and general elections in 2009.

The Naveen Patnaik Government again launched the one-rupee rice scheme in 2013. This scheme has been treated as a game changer scheme for the BJD Government till now. Through this scheme, BJD has reached to the heart of all poor people in Odisha.

Now, it seems that the BJP Government is replicating the scheme for a big gain in the next poll, which may be held little early, as predicted in different reports.