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Include poor families under NFSA: State BJP

Shillong, Aug 1: The State unit of the BJP has demanded inclusion of poor families, who have been left out of the purview of National Food Security Act, 2013 (NFSA) in the list of beneficiaries of Central Schemes during the Covid-19 pandemic.
It may be mentioned that the center has extended the benefit under the Prime Minister Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY), providing free ration to all poor people (Both under NFSA and non-NFSA) from May to November.
In a letter to Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma, State BJP chief Ernest Mawrie said that the poorest of the poor in Meghalaya are being denied of the scheme.
“The standard argument being forwarded is that the government of India has extended the scheme only for people covered under NFSA,” Mawrie said in the letter.
The State BJP chief alleged that messages with malicious intent are being circulated to the people of the state passing the blame to the centre for the “inefficiencies of the State government”.
“We cannot hide the fact that the issuing of ration cards under NFSA is the responsibility of the State government,” he said.
The State BJP president also said that as a responsible and morally empathetic government should own up to the short coming of the administration in providing NFSA cover to the poor in the State.
“The failures of the previous Congress governments led by Dr. Mukul Sangma in providing ration card to all the poor and needy people of the State cannot be an excuse for us for denying these people the benefits that the central BJP government has envisaged for them,” Mawrie said.
The State BJP unit said that the anomaly has arisen due to the fact that the State government had adopted the Socio Economic Class Census (SECC) carried out in 2011-2012 for identifying beneficiaries under NFSA in 2013-14.
The State BJP unit said that the then central government had given the State the liberty to adopt a mechanism for drawing up list of beneficiaries for implementing NFSA and the then government of Meghalaya chose the easier route of using the old data.
Mawrie alleged that the date under SECC was further filtered by the Food and Civil Supplies department which resulted in the exclusion of many and deserving poor families.
He also said that applications were invited from the general public for further inclusion into the NFSA, but no decision has been taken by the State government on such applications received.
“I implore that it would be appropriate if this exercise is taken up so that the additional figures can be appraised to the government of India, for additional allotment of essential items,” Mawrie said in the letter.