10 August :The Ministries of Rural Development and Human Resources Development are yet to pay over Rs 22,000 crore to Food Corporation of India for supplying foodgrains for mid-day meal and employment guarantee schemes.
The outstanding amount of the two Ministries has accumulated over a period of three years for supplying foodgrains for the two ambitious programmes — Mid Day Meal (MDM) scheme and National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme (NREGA), FCI Chairman and Managing Director Alok Sinha has said.
"We are yet to get over Rs 22,000 crore from the Rural Development and HRD Ministries," he said.
While FCI is paid in advance for supply of foodgrains to be distributed through the Public Distribution System and to the armed forces, contributions for the flagship schemes of the two ministries are made on credit.
"Now we have decided to supply grains to the two Ministries only against the advance payment," he said of the total amount, the major chunk of Rs 20,094 crore is pending with the Rural Development Ministry while the outstanding amount with HRD Ministry is Rs 2,457 crore.
"In case of Rural Development Ministry, 90 percent is principal and 10 percent is interest, while in case of HRD Ministry, it is the opposite," Sinha said.The FCI’s monthly disbursement of rice across India is 20 lakh tonnes and wheat 10 lakh tonnes. Out of this, 10 percent is meant for NREGA and MDM programmes.
The delay in payment by the two Ministries is pressurising FCI’s cash credit limit. The agency operates through a cash credit limit of Rs 35,000 crore provided by a group of 44 banks led by State Bank of India.
Though the Rural Development Ministry had assured the FCI at a meeting in June to clear one third of the outstanding due "very soon", no payment has come yet, a source said.
However, Sinha dismissed the suggestion that the non-settlement of dues was hampering the activities of the FCI."FCI is also a government organisation. It is a question of money coming from one head of the government to other," he said.
The food subsidy bill of the government has risen from Rs 24,858 crore during 2006-07 to Rs 31,817 crore during 2007-08.This is expected to further go up to Rs 46,000 crore during 2008-09. courtsey ddinews