The Centre owes Rs. 61,000 crore as food subsidy to government-owned Food Corporation of India following lower Budget allocation, compelling it to raise a short-term loan of Rs. 70, 820 crore in 2015-16. This was about 20 per cent higher than Rs.59,415 crore raised in 2014-15. In 2013-14, it had raised Rs. 35,510 crore as short-term loan.
“The outstanding arrear of food subsidy in case of FCI, as on March 31, 2016 was about Rs. 61,000 crore,” Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan informed the Lok Sabha in a written reply on Tuesday. He said this was due to the lower Budget allocation of about Rs. 1,03,300 crore for food subsidy in 2016-17, against the demand of Rs.1,29,000 crore. In another written reply, Paswan said FCI proposed to “slowly withdraw itself” from foodgrain procurement and hand it over to “experienced” States, such as Punjab and Haryana, adding that its “withdrawal shall be based on the consent of State governments.”