Patna: Food and consumer protection minister Shyam Rajak on Wednesday tried to corner the BJP members standing in the well of the state assembly by maintaining that the leakage in public distribution system (PDS) shops in Bihar had declined to 12% from as high as 65% earlier, in sharp contrast to what had been prevailing in Gujarat.
Rajak said a Planning Commission report had put the PDS leakage in Bihar at 12% during 2009-10 against 65% witnessed earlier. The same report said the PDS leakage in an “advanced state” like Gujarat had increased from 45% in 2009-10 to 69% in 2011-12.
Rajak was giving the government’s statement on the budgetary demand of his department, while the BJP members were in the well of the House protesting raucously against the police firing in Rohtas district that had claimed two lives. Leader of opposition Nand Kishore Yadav stood at his seat all through.
No cut motion was moved by the opposition members on department’s demand of Rs 796.85 crore for the current financial year. Nor was a debate held, as the BJP members were in the well of the House, leading to its several adjournments. Speaker Uday Narayan Choudhary put the dept’s demand before the House for passage by voice vote after the members assembled following adjournment. The minister read out the printed text of his statement in a higher tone.
Rajak also said the national average of PDS leakage was 40%, and, therefore, the dramatic reduction in the leakage achieved in Bihar with improved infrastructure and monitoring mechanism should be appreciated.
Overall, the number of families below poverty line (BPL) in the state is 1.37 crore, Rajak said. According to him, the government procured 14.32 lakh tonnes of paddy during the harvest season. Consequently, farmers were paid Rs 1,787.33 crore against minimum support price and Rs 341.09 crore against the bonus ? making a total of Rs 2,128.42 crore.
Bihar is the only state where the state government is paying a bonus of Rs 250 per quintal to farmers for foodgrain procured by the agencies concerned.
Rajak said 8.71 crore people of the state have rightful claim to foodgrain under Food Security Act, 2013, for which all the districts have been allotted 4.095 lakh tonne of foodgrain for retrospective distribution from March this year.