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With Kerala and Tamil Nadu on board, National Food Security Act gets Pan-India Coverage

Under the National Food Security Act the government provides five kg of food grain per person per month at a highly subsidised rate of Rs 1-3 per kg

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Ration shop. Flickr

New Delhi, November 3, 2016: The Centre on Thursday said that the entire country has now come under the National Food Security Act sway as Kerala and Tamil Nadu too have come on board.

“The Centre will now focus on further reforms in the Public Distribution System, which will include end-to-end computerisation, for which states and union territories are being assisted,” Union Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan told reporters here.

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This will help bring in transparency in public distribution system (PDS) functioning, a vital feature of the NFSA, he said.

The implementation of the act, initially brought by the earlier Congress-led government, covers about 80 crore people across 36 states and union territories and entails an annual subsidy of over Rs 1.4 lakh crore.

“When we came to power in May 2014, the food law was implemented in only 11 states. The law has now been implemented in all states and union territories,” Paswan said.

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Kerala and Tamil Nadu, which had stayed away from the NFSA so far, will implement it from November 2016.

“The legal entitlement to receive highly subsidised food grain under the act now extends to about 80 crore persons against a total intended coverage of 81.34 crore persons under the act,” Paswan said.

He said the government has taken a number of steps to improve PDS functioning and plug leaks.

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The minister said 71 percent of the ration cards have been linked with Aadhaar card till date, resulting in cancellation of about 2.62 crore ration cards across all states.

Under the NFSA, passed by parliament in 2013, the government provides five kg of food grain per person per month at a highly subsidised rate of Rs 1-3 per kg.

On the subsidy outgo, Paswan said: “It will be Rs 11,726 crore per month or about Rs 1,40,700 crore annually.” (IANS)

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Rajasthan Government stamps 1.5 Lakhs Houses with ‘I am Poor’ to take benefits from Centre

Rajasthan government's decision to stamp 1.5L houses with sign 'I am poor' in order to avail food subsidy has sparked a controversy

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'I am poor and receive ration from NFSA'
Sign outside BPL houses. Twitter
  • The government in Rajasthan stamped 1.5L BPL households with stamps ‘I am poor’ in order to avail food subsidies
  • Rajasthan government has been under attack for failing to fix its public distribution system
  • This decision has sparked controversies as the people feel humiliated 

Rajasthan, June 23, 2017: In a shocking incident, 1.5L houses in Rajasthan’s Dausa district were stamped with a message ‘I am poor, receive ration’. The decision to do this was taken so as to receive food assistance from the government. The stamp also included the full names of the people.

Local reports are flooding in alleging the Rajasthan government of this humiliating act. While the Rajasthan government believes that this step was necessary so that food assistance to BPL households is swifter and to eliminate rich families and middlemen, critics and opposition say, it is publicly shaming the poor.

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‘I am poor and receive ration from Nation Food Security Act’ is the message that is to be put up. Furthermore, any household that refuses to comply with this act will not be entitled to the benefits, said the state government.

According to ANI, 70 percent families in Dausa district currently benefit from the welfare scheme. The houses marked are particularly in Sikrai and Bandikui tehsils. These BPL households mainly comprise of the backward classes, scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, and other minorities.

There is a possibility that this is a clear cut case of class profiling. Needless to say, the people are not happy. Families are disappointed in the government and believe that the program was unnecessary for a few kilograms of wheat.

– by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2394

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Raja Chari: Indian American Astronaut chosen by NASA

Raja Chari, an American of Indian descent, has been chosen by NASA as one of the 12 astronauts for a new space mission.

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Raja Chari. Twitter.
  • Raja Chari is an American of Indian descent chosen by NASA for the new batch of astronauts
  • Currently, he is a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Air Force
  • Chari will have to go through two years of astronaut training which begins in August

June 06, 2017: NASA has chosen 12 astronauts out of a record-breaking 18,300 applications for upcoming space missions. An American of Indian descent, Raja Chari, has successfully earned his spot in the top 12.

The astronauts were selected on the basis of expertise, education, and physical tests. This batch of 12 astronauts is the largest group selected by NASA since two decades. The group consisting of 7 men and 5 women surpassed the minimum requirements of NASA.

Born in Waterloo, Iowa, Chari graduated from Air Force Academy in 1999 with a bachelor’s degree in Astronautical Engineering and Engineering Science. He went on to complete his master’s in Aeronautics and Astronautics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The astronaut is also a graduate of US Naval Test Pilot School.

Currently, Raja Chari is a Lieutenant Colonel in the US Air Force. He is the commander of 461st Flight Test Squadron and director of the F-35 Integrated Test Force at Edwards Air Force Base in California.

After Late Kalpana Chawla, Lt. Col. Raja Chari is the second Indian American astronaut chosen by NASA.

The 12 astronauts will have to go through two years of training. Upon completion, they will be assigned their missions ranging from research at the International Space Station, launching from American soil on spacecraft by private companies, to flying on deep space missions on NASA’s Orion Spacecraft.

The US Vice-President Mike Pence visited the Johnson Space Centre in Houston to announce and congratulate the new batch. Pence also said that President Trump is “fully committed” to NASA’s missions in space.

by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2393

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Over 5,000 Plant Varieties in Last 3 Years sent in by Tribal Farmers to protect the species : Minister

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Tribal Farmers
tribal farmers submitted more than 5,000 plant varieties in last three years (representational Image). Wikimedia

New Delhi, June 8, 2017: Union Agriculture Minister Radha Mohan Singh on Wednesday said tribal farmers submitted more than 5,000 plant varieties in last three years through Krishi Vigyan Kendras for registration at the Protection of Plant Variety and Farmers Rights Authority.

It will play an important role in the development of climate resilient and sustainable varieties in future, he said at the National Workshop on Empowerment of Farmers of Tribal Areas here.

“New technological innovations in agriculture must reach to the fields of tribal areas but before taking such steps we must keep in mind the unique conditions of these areas, which are the gift of nature and therefore, we should promote natural farming in those areas,” he said, as per an official release. (IANS)

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