the centre has curtailed foodgrain supply to one of its flagship rural development programmes, the Sampoorna Grameen Rozgar Yojana (sgry) which threatenin food security of the rural poor. The Union ministry of rural development (mord) recently informed the states of its inability to provide enough grain for sgry, and has asked that 40 per cent of the food component be replaced with cash.
This is the first time since the inception of the employment programme in 2001 that the government has cut food supply. m o rd usually allocates 5 million tonnes of foodgrain, including wheat and rice worth Rs 5,000 crore every year, free to the targeted beneficiaries, primarily rural labourers. This year it has allocated the entire available 1.7 million tonnes available for this scheme.Every worker covered under sgry gets a minimum of 5 kg foodgrain per working day as wages besides cash. This year, the government will give 3 kg per working day.
mord officials cite food shortage, in the wake of declining wheat production for the decision. But this doesn't sound logical with a bumper rice harvest this season as well as the last. Hence, there is a surplus, though not reflected by warehouse stock. Liberalisation of foodgrain procurement in food-surplus Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh has allowed private players to pick up most of the produce. This has reduced public procurement by Food Corporation of India and consequently the foodstock available for social programmes.
The decision is questionable since the import of 5 million tonnes of wheatshould have met requirements.
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