Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman challenges bureaucrat over question he didn’t answer
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday arrested Kamareddy district collector Jitesh Patil when the latter could not provide an answer on the Center and state’s share of the rice supplied by fair price stores.
Ms Sitharaman, who was attending various programs in the Zaheerabad parliamentary constituency under the BJP’s ‘Lok Sabha Pravas Yojana’, also asked collector Jitesh Patil why Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s picture was missing from Birkur’s shop when the Center bears a lion’s share in the subsidized rice which is sold at Rs 1 in the state to the beneficiaries.
“Rice which is sold at Rs 35 in the open market was distributed to people at Rs 1 here. How much does the state government bear?” she asked the Collector.
She said that the Center provides the rice to the PDS stores bearing all the costs including logistics and storage and trying to get a response whether this free rice is reaching the people or not.
Mrs. Sitharaman said approximately that the Center bears Rs 30, the state government gives Rs 4, while Re 1 is collected from the beneficiaries.
She pointed out that from March to April 2020, the Center provided rice, priced at Rs 30-Rs 35, free of charge without the state government and beneficiaries having to contribute anything.
When the official could not answer the question, the Union Minister asked him to find an answer within the next 30 minutes.
“You think about it and in the half hour, again before my address to the media (find an answer). So that I can tell them that even if the Collector could not immediately answer my question, he is debated and got the information,” she chided.
She alleged that when a request was made earlier to display PM’s pictures also in fair price shops in Telangana, it was not allowed. BJP workers who showed up to post the photos were also not allowed, she claimed.
“I tell you today. Our people will come and set up the Prime Minister’s banner here. You, as district administrator, will see that it is not removed. Let it not be torn,” she warned the collector.
“If there is no banner, I will come back here,” she said.
Under the leadership of Center Prime Minister Garib Kalyan Yojana, the full cost of 5 kilograms of free food grain is being borne by the Modi government, the Union minister said.
“Under the NFSA, more than 80% of the cost of food grains is borne by Modi’s government. Is there any objection to Prime Minister Modi’s poster/banner being displayed in shops in Modi? rationing? Smt @nsitharaman,” his office tweeted.
Previously, some Congress workers tried to protest when the finance minister was on her way to Banswada. The police intervened and dispersed the group.
(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)