Guv wants early ration distribution to 20 lakh new beneficiaries in J-K
Governor NN Vohra has stressed upon early ration distribution to 20 lakh new beneficiaries under the National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013.
Reviewing implementation of the NFSA-2013 in a meeting held at Raj Bhawan here today, Governor directed Chief Secretary BR Sharma to ensure that there was no shortage of food grains in any part of the state while implementing the NFSA.
The meeting was also attended by Secretary, Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution (CAPD), Saurabh Bhagat.
The Governor was informed that before the implementation of the NFSA, 18.02 lakh ration ticket holders, comprising 99 lakh persons, were covered under the Public Distribution System on the basis of population as it stood in 2000.
With the implementation of the NFSA, 26 lakh ration ticket holders with 119.5 lakh persons will get covered as per 2011 Census population, with a resultant net increase of 20 lakh persons.
The Secretary, CAPD, informed that under the NFSA only the relatively well-to-do families are getting excluded and the resultant saving of ration on this account would now be specifically utilised to cover only the genuine and needier beneficiaries at highly subsidised rates.
The implementation of the Act would help in plugging the pilferage of large quantities of food grains which were hitherto unlawfully traded by the vested interests.
Under the NFSA, 74.13 lakh beneficiaries will now receive 5 kg rice at the rate of Rs 3 per kg or 5 kg wheat at the rate of Rs 2 per kg as a matter of right.
Food grains for the remaining 45 lakh souls will continue to be available at the rate of Rs 10 per kg of rice and Rs 8 per kg of wheat. Thus, effectively, 20 lakh more persons will now get covered under the Public Distribution System after the implementation of the NFSA.
The Governor directed officials that the process of distribution of food grains should be expedited to ensure timely availability of ration to all beneficiaries over the next one week.
The Secretary, CAPD, informed that as against 10,27,639 persons covered as per 2000 population in Srinagar district, 13,33,707 persons will be covered under the NFSA, thus registering an almost 30 per cent increase by covering 3,03,068 additional persons.
Overall, in the Kashmir division, 72,28,047 persons will be covered under the NFSA as against 57,02,440 as per the population in 2000.
It was explained that, earlier, the ration was being issued on the basis of ration cards, which covered much less population and the number of ration cards was also less. With the increase in the number of persons as per the 2011 Census, the number of persons covered at the rate of 5 kg per person under the NFSA will result in the higher net availability of ration to the members of the erstwhile families at a highly subsidised price of Rs 15 for 5 kg of rice and only Rs 13 if the beneficiary takes both rice (3kg) and wheat (2kg).
A Raj Bhawan spokesperson recalled that the decision regarding the implementation of the NFSA was taken by the erstwhile PDP-BJP government in December 2015.
As per the decision of the then Cabinet, inclusion and exclusion criteria for coverage under the NFSA are in line with the provisions of the Act so as to maximise the benefits to the most deserving section of the society.
The Governor directed the Chief Secretary to ensure that the effective availability of food grains does not get reduced vis-a-vis that under the earlier regime before the implementation of the NFSA, under any circumstances.