On a day the Supreme Court rapped the Centre on non-compliance of the National Food Security Act by certain drought-hit states, the Food Ministry on Wednesday said its implementation essentially is a “state subject”.
“It is well defined in the Public Distribution System laws. The onus of implementing the Food Security Act and helping citizens is with the states,” a Food Ministry spokesman told IANS here.
The spokesman said: “If the Supreme Court has said something, has expressed displeasure on implementation issues, it is for the states to take cognisance of the court order and act.”
He said the Centre’s role vis-a-vis the Act is framing of the law in 2013 and later on ensuring its implementation by all states.
“But the Central Government cannot be blamed for lapses in the implementation in some states,” the spokesman said.
Moreover, he pointed out, whenever the states are faced with difficult situation like natural calamities, as was faced in states like Jammu and Kashmir, additional supply of food grain was ensured.
The official said that contrary to the claims by several states that they are giving subsidised food grain to its people, in reality, it is the Central Government which provides food grain at low price.
“If the price of rice is Rs 30 a kg, the Centre gives a subsidy of Rs 28 while the consumers pay Rs 2 only. But the credit is stolen by the states,” Union Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan told IANS in May.
The Food Ministry’s stand came on a day when the Supreme Court slammed the Centre for doing nothing to tell the states to comply with the top court’s directions to supply food grain to the poor in drought-affected states under the National Food Security Act.