New Delhi: The Ministries of Rural Development and Human Resources Development are yet to pay over Rs22,000 crore to Food Corporation of India (FCI) 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 said.
“We are yet to get over Rs22,000 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 Rs20,094 crore is pending with the Rural Development Ministry while the outstanding amount with HRD Ministry is Rs2,457 crore.
“In case of Rural Development Ministry, 90% is the principal amount and 10% is the interest amount, 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% 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 Rs35,000 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, of clearing one-third of the outstanding amount “very soon”, no payment has been made 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 the other,” he said.
The food subsidy bill of the government has risen from Rs24,858 crore during 2006-07 to Rs31,817 crore during 2007-08. This is expected to further go up to Rs46,000 crore during 2008-09.