With just three days left for the end of the tenure of the three centrally sponsored schemes meant for the poor, needy and those without ration cards, there seems no movement on the administrative front for its revival or continuation.
During the lockdown, The Centre, supported by the state government had launched three different schemes under the public distribution system (PDS) with the basic objective to prevent starvation of the poor. But these schemes were only until the month of June.
Now that the last week of June is nearing to an end and so does the three-month tenure of the schemes, the government has neither initiated measures to lift ration from the central pool in advance for the next month of July nor it has given any signals for the extension to the prevailing three foodgrains schemes. Therefore, it seems that, after June, the beneficiaries will not avail the benefit of free ration grains.
Under those schemes, initially, first eligible cardholders under the Antyoday and Priority family schemes were provided five kg of free rice per person along with regular grains and one kg of dal per card. Under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) scheme, the ration is distributed at a highly subsidised price.
Wheat is supplied at Rs2/kg and rice at Rs 3/kg. It also launched a free rice scheme for poor beneficiaries who do not have a ration card for the two months of May and June.
In addition to this, the scheme of giving wheat at Rs 8 per kg and rice at Rs 12 per kg to the saffron cardholders who were earlier included in the ration scheme but now have been covered under the APL category was also commenced till the end of June.
Under all these three schemes, the PDS department has supplied foodgrains between 60000 to 65000 metric tonnes for every month since April. It is expected that these three schemes are likely to get an extension of at least three months during the monsoon season.
Meanwhile, the free rice scheme, which was launched by the Centre, is expected to get some relief as the state has sent a proposal to the central government seeking an extension.
Meanwhile, the government is working on "One Nation One Ration Card” plan. Under this system, nation-wide portability of the benefits under NFSA is implemented to enable the NFSA ration card holders to lift their entitled quota of subsidised foodgrains from any ePoS enabled FPS of their choice anywhere in the country, by using the existing/same ration card after Aadhaar authentication on ePoS device.