Food Security Scheme Fails To Reach 1 Million People in Himachal

Shimla: Near one million (10 lakh) people of Himachal Pradesh have been deprived of subsidized quota of ration even after three months of launch of Rajeev Gandhi Ann Yojna.

The state government launched the program under Food Security Act on 20th September 2013 with the declaration that the program would cover 36.82 lakh people around the state.

File Photo: Launch of Himachal Food Security Scheme on 20 September
File Photo: Launch of Himachal Food Security Scheme on 20 September

It was promised that government will provide wheat at Rs.2 per kg and rice at Rs.3 per kg to all families identified in Antodaya, BPL, beneficiaries of Annapurna Yojna, old age, disables, leprous, and social security pensioner categories. The program also did include Tibetans holding subsidized food (Ration) card permits.

Initially, Rajeev Gandhi Ann Yojna was supposed to cater 17 lakh subsidized food (ration) card holders from poor and weaker sections of the state.

Other categories like orphanages, single women, family of widows, families of those with more than 60% disabilities, labourer families and those registered under rural employment guarantee program MNREGA for more than a year were to be added later after holding of a general assembly (Gram Sabha) of the concerned panchayats.

Talking to reporters Food and Civil Supply Minister, GS Bali passed the buck to Panchayati Raj and Rural Development ministry for the lapse in implementing the ambitious food security scheme in the state.

He said, “Ten lakh people were to be added to the scheme after holding of a special general house session of the concerned panchayats but the general house meet could not be held because of lack of a quorum.

“What can civil supply department, which is entrusted with the task of making the food items available under the Food Security Act scheme do about it? It is for the Panchayati Raj and Rural Development departments to ensure that the beneficiaries are identified so that they could avail the benefits of the scheme,” said Bali.

To streamline the public distribution system (PDS) a workshop on e-PDS (electronic public distribution system) was held here recently.

Principal Secretary Food and Civil Supply, K. Sanjay Murthy directed all the officials to enroll all the left out families to Rajeev Gandhi Ann Yojna as soon as possible so that a shift from the older system e-PDS could be implemented at the earliest.

He also made an appeal to consumers to apply for Electronic Ration Cards by 20 January.

“These electronic ration cards will be linked with Aadhar cards so that distribution could be done online and changes in the ration cards could be made easily and accurately,” said Sanjay Murthy.

File Photo: Amit

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