Bhubaneswar: Addressing a press meet today, BJD MP and National Spokesperson Dr. Sasmit Patra said that 10 kgs of rice per person per month was being provided to 3.25 crore people of Odisha, 5 kg under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) and 5 kg under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY). However, the Centre has now stopped the PMGKAY.
The Centre stopping 5kg free rice per person per month under PMGKAY will badly affect the poor and farmers. It will adversely affect individual households and families, the Parliamentarian said.
Patra further stated that after the COVID pandemic and all savings exhausted, the poor needed the PMGKAY support for a much longer time. Its stopping will burden them and their families massively. Why is the Centre slashing the food security of the poor?
Farmers were benefitting due to PMGKAY. Additional 5 kgs rice per person led to rice procurement by the Centre; thereby the farmers could sell their surplus rice and benefit from the MSP paid to them towards it. Now the farmers of Odisha face a grave challenge due to the Centre stopping the PMGKAY. No more additional procurement of rice, no more MSP to farmers. Where will they sell their produce?
Further, many eligible families of Odisha are deprived and should be included in the programme but the Centre has not considered them even after so many years.
Dr. Patra emphasized that the Biju Janata Dal strongly condemns this anti-poor, anti-farmer and anti-family attitude of the BJP-led Centre in depriving lakhs of families of Odisha and slashing their monthly rice allocation by half and demand that the PMGKAY should be continued in the interests of the individual families and their wellness.
The MP further asserted that Biju Janata Dal strongly demands that PMGKAY should be immediately restarted from this month onwards as its stopping will adversely affect the food security of crores of poor people not only in Odisha but also across India, especially after COVID.
The BJD will continue to strongly demand restarting of PMGKAY in Parliament as well as other forums till the Centre agrees to our demand. It will also help the farmers and ensure rice procurement and MSP to them, Patra added.