Bhubaneswar, Jan 26 (IANS) Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik Saturday chose the Republic Day to announce his government's decision to provide a kilo of rice for Rs.1 to the poor from next month.
Patnaik, who unfurled the tricolour in Cuttack, 26 km from here, said the scheme would provide food security to over 58 lakh families.
"I don't want any people of our state to die of hunger. A hunger free Odisha is my dream," Patnaik said in his address.
"From February, the state government has decided to provide rice at one rupee per kilo to all BPL (below poverty line) families in the state."
All Dalit and tribal students; Antyodaya card holders, the physically challenged and families listed under above poverty line (APL) category in Kalahandi, Bolangir and Koraput districts will also be covered under this scheme, he said.
Currently the state provides one kilo of rice for Rs.2 to the poor and other select categories.
Governor Murlidhar Chandrakant Bhandare took the salute at the Republic Day parade in the state capital Bhubaneswar.
Despite a Maoist boycott call, thousands took part in the official celebrations in the southern and western districts of Malkangiri, Ganjam, Gajapati, Rayagada and Koraput where the rebels are influential.