Vinay Kumar Sorake, Urban Development Minister, said on Wednesday that the ‘Anna Bhagya’ scheme will help a lot of poor families. He was speaking after launching the ‘Anna Bhagya’ scheme, which provides 30 kg of rice at Re. 1 a kg to poor families, at the Veerabhadra Sabha Bhavan, here.

Mr. Sorake said that by launching the ‘Anna Bhagya’, the Congress had fulfilled an electoral promise. The Congress government did not want any person in the State to remain hungry, he said. He said that 87 lakh poor families would benefit from the ‘Anna Bhagya’ scheme. The cost of providing rice under this scheme in Udupi district per month was Rs. 2.3 crore. The scheme was being launched in all the three taluks of the district.

He said that Harish Gowda, Secretary, the Food and Civil Supplies Department, had held a meeting of all Panchayat Development Officers (PDOs) in Udupi on Tuesday evening. He had directed them to take steps to see that all the beneficiaries got rice at Re. 1 per kg.

The Union government was planning to bring in the Food Security Bill. The aim of this Act was to help poor people. The State exchequer presently had to bear a burden of Rs. 7,000 crore due to the ‘Anna Bhagya’ scheme. But if the Food Security Bill became an Act, then the State’s burden would be halved to Rs. 3,500 crore, Mr. Sorake said.

Presiding over the function, Upendra Nayak, president of Zilla Panchayat, said that many families living below the poverty line (BPL) had received above the poverty line (APL) cards and vice-versa. This meant a lot of families could not take advantage of many government schemes.

The government should take steps to clear the confusion regarding the wrong distribution of ration cards. All the gram panchayats would be provided an additional computer, which would help them expedite the process of providing ration cards to BPL families, Mr. Nayak said.

Gowri Poojary, president of Udupi Taluk Panchayat, Usha Shenoy, and president of Kaup gram panchayat, were present.

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