Union Govt’s ration card scheme has state in a fix - Mandi Gobindgarh News

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Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Union Govt’s ration card scheme has state in a fix

Union Govt’s ration card scheme has state in a fix

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 9

The Punjab government is in a fix over the Union government’s announcement of having a “one nation one ration card” scheme. With over 1.40 crore beneficiaries in the Food for All Scheme, the state is all set to distribute smart ration cards to the beneficiaries. The catch, however, is that these cards will not have inter-state portability.

Another major challenge that the state government will face in being a part of the “one nation one ration card” scheme announced by the Centre last week is the amount of foodgrains to be distributed.

Punjab distributes six months’ ration (five kg wheat per month per beneficiary, in a 30-kg bag) while the Union government scheme lays for distribution of one-month ration at one time. Punjab Food and Civil Supplies Minister Bharat Bhushan Ashu told The Tribune that they would have to study the scheme in detail and then see how the challenges in its implementation can be overcome.

Two days ago, the Centre announced the “one nation one ration card” scheme, which will allow portability of food security benefits, saying it will be available across the country from July 1, 2020. This means poor migrant workers will be able to buy subsidised rice/wheat from any ration shop in the country, as long as their ration cards are linked to Aadhaar. All states have been given one year to use point of sale (PoS) machines in the ration shops and implement the scheme.

Since last year, Punjab has PoS machines in all ration shops. While intra-state portability can be included in the new smart ration cards that are to be distributed, the inter-state portability will be a challenge, admitted Gurkirat Kirpal Singh, Secretary, Food and Supplies Department. He said though in the ongoing cycle of wheat distribution, they would not be able to implement the intra-state portability, it was likely to be implemented in the next cycle of distribution.

1.41 cr beneficiaries 

  • Punjab has 1.41 crore beneficiaries who get subsidised wheat under the Food for All Scheme.
  • State only distributes 30 kg wheat (5 kg per person per month) twice a year.

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