A massive political row has now erupted over an incident that took place on Friday in Zaheerabad Parliamentary Constituency where Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman pulled up the local Collector of Kamareddy district for not being able to provide her with an answer to what the Centre and the State’s share of the rice supplied through fair price shops was and also pulled up the district collector – Jitesh Patil over missing PM Modi pictures at a local shop.
The Union Minister asked Jitesh Patil as to why the picture of Prime Minister Narendra Modi was missing at the shop in Birkur. On the fair price prices, she said the Centre bears a lion’s share in the subsidised rice which is being sold to beneficiaries in the State at the rate of Re 1 kg.
“The rice which is sold at Rs 35 in the open market was being distributed to people at Re 1 here. How much is the State government bearing?” she asked the Collector. She said the Centre has been supplying the rice in shops by bearing all the costs, including logistics and storage, and was trying to get an answer whether free rice was reaching the people or not. Nirmala Sitharaman was visiting the district as part of BJP’s ‘Lok Sabha PravasYojana’ when the incident took place.
The Telangana Health Minister T Harish Rao said he was ‘Appalled’ by Sitharaman’s Conduct with Collector adding that it was unbecoming of a Union Minister asking to keep the Prime Minister’s picture in a ration shop.
According to him, the Centre supplies 10 kg of rice per month at Rs 3 per kg to only 50 to 55 per cent of the cardholders under NFSA (National Food Security Act) and for the rest 45-50 per cent, Telangana government supplies at its own cost.
Sitharaman said the Centre bears nearly Rs 30, the State gives Rs 4 while Re 1 is collected from the beneficiaries. She said since March-April 2020, the Centre has been providing rice priced at Rs 30-Rs 35 free of cost without the State government and the beneficiaries having to contribute anything.
When the official could not answer the question, the Union Minister asked him to come up with an answer in the next 30 minutes.
“You think about it and within half-an-hour again before my address to the media (come up with an answer). So that I can tell them that even if the Collector could not answer my question immediately, he struggled and got the information,” she rebuked.