BJD to raise free rice scheme issue in Parliament’s budget session

Bhubaneswar: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik-led Biju Janata Dal (BJD) would raise its demand for continuation of the 5 kg free rice scheme under the public distribution system during the upcoming budget session of Parliament.

Patnaik on Saturday held a meeting of the BJD parliamentary party to prepare strategy for the budget session, which will begin from January 31.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, BJD MP Pinaki Misra said: “Discontinue of the 5 kg free rice by the Centre has affected the people from the most marginalised section of our society. As the Centre will spend a very minimal fund of about Rs 8,000 to 9,000 crore on the scheme, we will demand a restart of the scheme.”

He demanded that the scheme should be immediately restarted as its stopping will adversely affect the food security of crores of poor people not only in Odisha but also across India. It has an adverse impact on paddy procurement too, Misra said.

The Chief Minister has asked all the MPs to give more emphasis on passing a Women Reservation Bill in Parliament.

He has directed to create a pressure group in Delhi including MPs from other parties like Trinamool Congress and the DMK, who have supported the move of the BJD, to put pressure on the Centre for introduction of the bill, the BJD leader said.

The BJD has also decided to raise non-sanction of around 4 lakh houses for Odisha under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY).

“Due to political reasons, the Centre has cut down about 4 lakh PMAY houses for Odisha,” he alleged.

The party would also raise the demand for inclusion of 169 communities in the ST list of Odisha.

Besides, issues including special category status for Odisha, revision of coal royalty, special assistance for construction of disaster resilient infrastructure, inclusion of ‘Ahimsa’ (non-violence) in the Preamble of the Constitution and implementation of recommendations of Swaminathan Commission report to enhance farmers’ income will be raised by the BJD in the Parliament.


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