Assam CM launches food security scheme campaign

Guwahati, Aug 20 (IANS) The Assam government Tuesday launched a state-wide promotional campaign to showcase the centre's ambitious food security scheme at the grassroots coinciding with the birth anniversary of late prime minister Rajiv Gandhi.

Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said the final scheme will be launched in the state Nov 19, "coinciding with the birth anniversary of former prime minister Indira Gandhi. In Assam, about 2.25 crore people from around 40 lakh families will benefit from the scheme."

Gogoi launched the campaign at a function at Sarusajai Sports Complex in Guwahati.

Saying that the ordinance on food security would help battle malnutrition and hunger, Gogoi said that one should not oppose the scheme for the sake of opposing it.

"One has to understand the pangs of hunger to realize how important the scheme is for the poor segments of the society," he said, and added that the state and central governments are more concerned about the poor and have taken up different schemes for their welfare.

Terming it a "dream of the top leadership, including Sonia Gandhi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Rahul Gandhi", Gogoi said that the government would have no difficulty in implementing the scheme because of self-sufficiency on the food front.

"There was a time when we had to import food grains from the US. But now our country has attained self-sufficiency on the food front, thanks to the hard work of our farmers," he said. "The day is not far when the country would see shelter becoming a right after the Right to Education and Right to Food."

"In our state we will launch a scheme ensuring shelter to the rural and urban poor," he said, while seeking cooperation for the smooth implementation of the food security scheme.

"The aim is to cover about 2.25 crore people across the state. From the rural areas, around 84.17 percent of people will benefit, while about 60.35 percent will benefit in urban areas. Altogether 2,52,18,000 people will gain," said Assam Minister for Food and Civil Supplies Nazrul Islam.

He said there would be no difficulty in preparing the list of beneficiaries as the state has already 7.04 lakh beneficiary families under Antodoya Scheme, 20 lakh beneficiary families under Chief Minister's Anna Yojona and over 12 lakh BPL families. "These together form about 40 lakh families who are likely to benefit from the food security scheme," he said.

As per the scheme, rice will be available at Rs.3 per kg, while wheat and coarse cereals will be offered at Rs.2 and Re.1 respectively for each kg. The food security scheme also has benefits for pregnant women and children between six months and 14 years of age.

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