MP meets Union Ministers

Demands resumption of PDS sugar for BPL/APL beneficiaries
Report by: 
Port Blair
22 Jun 2017

The Member of Parliament, A & N Islands, Mr Bishnu Pada Ray met Mr Ram Vilas Paswani, Minister of Food & Public Distribution, GoI, New Delhi on Thursday and discussed the issue of continuation of subsidised sugar supply on APL/BPL families through the PDS, which has been stopped since May 2017 except the beneficiaries of AAY.
Mr Paswan, after careful consideration of the demand, assured that being remotely located UT, a Cabinet Note on the issue will be placed before the cabinet to sort out the legitimate demand.
The MP also met with Mr Piyush Goyal, Minister of Power on June 20. During discussion with Mr Piyush Goyal and Mr Ram Vilas Paswan, the MP presented a letter highlighting the ground realities relating to NFSA coverage in which he stated that in the UT of Andaman & Nicobar Islands coverage of Rural population is 60953 (which includes the 36,000 population alone of Nicobar Island) i.e 24.94 % against the required coverage of 75 % in rural area, while in urban areas, the population is more than 2 lakhs and coverage is only 2307 population i.e. 1.7 % against the required coverage of 50 % under NFSA. Sugar was supplied at the rate of Rs: 22.80 to APL beneficiaries and Rs: 16.30 per kg/ per month to BPL and PHH families through the PDS. Now, as per new arrangement of the Government, sugar will only be supplied to 4048 Nos AAY families, he said.
In open market sugar is being sold @ Rs. 70-80/- in capital city Port Blair, and Rs. 100/- per kg in remote islands. Stoppage of sugar in PDS will adversely impact every islander in the territory and will also have a political cost, he informed the Union Ministers. The MP further added that, in almost all States, some food articles such as tea, pulses, salt etc. are being issued in subsidized rate under the PDS. This dispensation has not been extended to A & N Islands, he said.
If sugar is supplied at the same scale as earlier, the total financial implication would be around 19 cores per annum. Out of this, around 7.5 Crores is recovered by way of sale proceeds. So, the subsidy is approximately to the tune of Rs. 8.6 Crores. With the implementation of GST, some of the common use items may become costlier, due to addition of transport cost.  As commonly used articles in the island territory are costlier then in mainland. Therefore, limited intervention of Government, at least in the food articles is always desirable to provide relief to the citizen, added Mr Ray.