‘Centre has not stopped States from increasing list of PDS beneficiaries’
Only 15 States and UTs have utilised quota based on the 2011 Census for PDS beneficiaries, says Union Minister for Food and Public Distribution
- Union Minister for Food and Public Distribution, while detailing the efforts of distributing foodgrains across the country, blames State governments for the gap in enrolling beneficiaries under the Public Distribution System and failing to embrace the one nation, one ration card scheme.
- Till now 1,404 rail rakes carrying 39.41 LMT food grains have been transported. Union Government has a stock of 588.9 lakh tonnes of foodgrains. And monthly we need 60 lakh tonnes. And there will be additional procurement now of the rabi crop that is being harvested.
- Union Government has fixed wheat at ₹21/kg and rice at ₹22/ kg for the State governments to procure, which is far lower than the MSP rate.
- The State governments are told to procure as much as they want. Even those who are conducting relief work can approach us and take the food grains from us. This includes the National Disaster Management Authority or State Disaster Management Authority.
- As per 2011 census, 50% of urban population and 75% rural population have to be covered under Public Distribution System (PDS). As per the census, there should be 81,34,9400 beneficiaries. It is the State governments’ responsibility to enroll beneficiaries.
- Only 15 States and UTs have utilised their quota. These include Andhra Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Goa, Haryana, Karnataka, Kerala, M.P., Maharashtra, Meghalaya, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, West Bengal, Lakshadweep and Ladakh.
- But a few States that lag behind like Bihar can issue 14.5 lakh additional ration cards or Tamil Nadu could have had 7.36 lakh more ration cards and so on.
- The Centre has not stopped the States from increasing the list of beneficiaries. They need to be held accountable for this lapse.
- The one nation, one ration card system, which would have helped migrant workers get ration wherever they were stranded.This project would have helped: say a Bihari migrant who is working in Gujarat, could have availed PDS.
- This is made possible by e-pos machines and hundred percentage linkage of ration cards with Aadhaar card.
- So far, 12 States have embraced the project including Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, MP, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Telangana and Tripura. U.P. and Bihar, have not so far installed e-pos machines in all the fair price shops.