Chandigarh July 10—The Haryana Chief Minister, Mr Bhupinder Singh
Hooda, has said that the state government will start implementation of
the ambitious National Food Security Ordinance on the birth
anniversary of the former Prime Minister, Mr Rajiv Gandhi.  “We have
already done the spadework and are fully prepared for implementation
of the Ordinance”, Mr Hooda said while addressing a press conference,
here today.
        Haryana has 9,174 Fair Price Shops through which the
beneficiaries are now supplied subsidized food grains. Mr Hooda said
that the number of beneficiary families after implementation of the
Ordinance would increase from 12 lakh to 27.84 lakh. On an average,
one Fair Price Shop has 638 ration cards against the capacity of 1,200
to 1,300 ration cards. “Thus, the state has enough infrastructure to
successfully implement the scheme”, the Chief Minister added.
     The Chief Minister said that a committee had been constituted
under the Chairmanship of the Chief Secretary, Mr P.K. Chaudhery, to
work out modalities for inclusion of more beneficiaries under the
scheme. The committee will submit its report within one week.
   Describing the National Food Security Ordinance as a historical
decision of the UPA Government, Mr Hooda said it was the dream of the
Father of Nation Mahatma Gandhi that nobody remained deprived of food,
clothing and shelter. In order to realize this dream the UPA
Government has taken the initiative to implement the Ordinance.
Mr Hooda said that the former Prime Minister, Mrs Indira Gandhi, had
given the slogan, “Garibi Hatao” and her successor, Mr Rajiv Gandhi,
armed the Panchayati Raj Institutions with more powers to strengthen
and revitalize the roots of democracy. And the UPA Chairperson, Mrs
Sonia Gandhi, has given the slogan, “Congress Ka Hath-Garib Ke Saath”.
The UPA Government has not only made efforts to ensure food security,
but had also implemented revolutionary initiatives like the Right to
Information Act and MGNREGA. “The decision on food ordinance taken for
the welfare of the poor would be written in golden letters in the
history of the country”, he said.
        Implementation of the Food Security Ordinance would benefit
two-thirds of the total population of the country and provide rice,
wheat and coarse cereals at the rate of Rs 3, 2 and 1 per kilogram,
respectively.
    However, Mr Hooda said that the Antyodaya Anna Yojana AAY category
ration card holders were already getting 35 kg of wheat every month at
the same price. The eligible households and targeted beneficiaries
will also get these items at same prices. To other BPL ration card
holders, these are given at the rate of Rs 5.20 per kg but now under
the new scheme BPL ration card holders and the new beneficiaries
listed under the scheme would also get these items at same prices.
        Referring to the present number of beneficiaries in the state,
Mr. Hooda said that there were 54.41 lakh beneficiaries under AAY, BPL
and State BPL, constituting 21.42 per cent of the total population.
Under the new scheme, the number of such beneficiaries would increase
to 130.86 lakh, constituting 51.6 per cent of the total population of
the state.
However, he said that the number of additional beneficiaries under the
scheme would go up to 76.45 lakh constituting 30.18 per cent of the
total population.
Detailing the urban and rural beneficiaries, Mr Hooda said that at
present 38.6 lakh rural beneficiaries were availaing themselves of the
benefit of Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) constituting
23.35 per cent of the rural population. Now, with implementation of
the new scheme, 85.29 lakh rural beneficiaries would be benefited
under the TPDS constituting 51.59 per cent of the rural population.
Similarly in the urban areas, 15.81 lakh beneficiaries constituting
17.91 per cent of the urban population are availing themselves of the
benefit under the TPDS. Under the new scheme, the number of such
beneficiaries will increase to 45.57 lakh, constituting 51.66   per
cent of the urban populace. He maintained that the ranks of rural
beneficiaries would go up 2.2 times while those in the urban areas 2.9
times.
          The Chief Minister said that special emphasis had been laid
on nutritional support to women and children in the Food Security
Ordinance. Pregnant women and lactating mothers, besides being
entitled to nutritious meals as per the prescribed nutritional norms,
would also receive maternity benefit of at least Rs 6,000.
This scheme, Mr Hooda said, had earlier been implemented in Panchkula
District only with maternity benefit of Rs 4,000. Now, it would be
rolled out in the entire state, benefiting all pregnant women and
lactating mothers with increased amount of Rs 6,000.
        Mr. Hooda said that under Section 31 of the Ordinance, the
interest of producers had also been taken care of. The provision
contains revitalization of agriculture; agrarian reforms through
measures for securing interest of small and marginal farmers; increase
in investments in agriculture, including research and development,
extension services, micro and minor irrigation and power to increase
productivity and production.
This section also ensures livelihood security to farmers by way of
remunerative prices, access to inputs, credit, irrigation, power and
crop insurance and prohibits unwarranted diversion of land and water
from food production, procurement, storage and movement related
interventions. It also provides for access to safe and adequate
drinking water and sanitation, healthcare, nutritional, health and
educational support to adolescent girls.
Mr Hooda said that most of the recommendations given by the working
group of Chief Ministers constituted by the Prime Minister, Dr
Manmohan Singh, under his (Mr. Hooda) Chairmanship for ensuring
remunerative prices to the farmers had been incorporated in Section 31
of the Ordinance.