Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi have understood the issues of Kerala and guaranteed that required quantity of rice and wheat would be provided to the state and 'coverage for 100 per cent population' will be ensured, he told reporters during a briefing on cabinet meeting.
Kerala was ready to implement the scheme at any time. But, certain details were yet to be worked out, he said when asked whether the new scheme would be implemented on former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi's birthday on August 20.
Referring to the concern of the state, he said if the programme was implemented in total as per the present position, only 42 per cent of the state's population would be covered. "That means, only 140 lakh persons will come under the purview of the new scheme and 193 lakh persons would be out of it," Chandy said, pointing out that Kerala was a state where the universal statutory rationing existed since 1966.
Kerala did not oppose the new Food Security Bill and welcomed it as it was a "landmark" move aimed at eradicating poverty. Under the new scheme, the Centre would provide food grains at concessional rate for 140 lakh people. But in the case of above poverty level category, the Centre wanted the state to take the food grains at MSP rate, which was not acceptable to state. The concerns of Kerala would be taken up by the Union cabinet and a decision favourable to it would be taken, he said.