May 08: The Government is making efforts to ensure that foodgrains are readily available for distribution in all the States for meeting their requirements under the “Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PM-GKAY)”. The Union Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Shri Ram Vilas Paswan said here today the FCI has already loaded a total number of 2641 rakes (including Wheat and Rice) towards this end and the approx quantity loaded is 73.95 LMT (55.38 LMT Rice and 18.57 LMT Wheat). This is an all-time record as this heavy/huge movement of foodgrains was accomplished during the period from 24.03.2020 (the date on which lockdown was clamped across the country) to 08.05.2020.
He said 21 States/UT have completed more than 90% distribution for the month of April under PM-GKAY covering nearly 41.35 Crore beneficiaries in these States/UTs. Some States/UTs namely, Andaman Nicobar Island, D&NH and Daman & Diu, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Puducherry, Himachal Pradesh etc. are distributing foodgrains for two months in one go under PMGKAY.
The Minister said 6 Crore Special SMSs have also been sent by about 20 States/UTs to NFSA ration card holders for awareness generation about of additional benefit of free foodgrains under PM-GKAY.
Pulses distribution under PM-GKAY
Besides the food grains, Shri Paswan said the Government is also distributing free one kg of pulses to about 19.50 crore households for three months in the country. He said, this is the first time that the Department of Consumer Affairs is carrying such a massive operation of pulses. Government has allowed use of its stocks lying in about 165 NAFED godowns across the country for this scheme. Over 100 dal mills across the country have been pressed into service by NAFED so far.
The Minister said, as on date, about 51,105 LMT of pluses have been distributed across 21 States and 5 UTs. He said the delay in supply and distribution of pulses is due to late intimation by States/UTs on their choice of particular pulses variety such as Tur Dal, Urad Whole, Moong Whole, Chana hole, Chana Dal and Masur Dal besides the logistics involved in transportation from different States during the lockdown. In many inaccessible locations, such as Vijayanagar in Arunachal Pradesh on the Myanmar border and Ladakh, pulses have been lifted by air route under extremely challenging conditions. Besides, some States like UP have decided to distribute pulses with food grains in order to minimize social contact leading to delayed distribution, he said.
17 States/UTs covered under ‘One Nation One Ration Card’
Shri Paswan said, under the “One Nation One Ration Card” plan, 5 more States/UT of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Darda & Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu, have been asked to integrate with the National Cluster. The cluster already has 12 States namely – Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Jharkhand, Kerala, Karnataka Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Telangana and Tripura w.e.f. 1st January 2020. Now, with a total of 17 States/UTs integrated with the National Cluster, the facility of national/inter-State portability would be enabled for 60 Crore NFSA beneficiaries of 17 States/UTs to lift their entitled quota of foodgrains from any Fair Price Shop of their choice by using their same/existing ration card.