Even as the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre has proposed inclusion of unit system in the Food Security Bill, the new Congress government in the State has scrapped it and decided to distribute food items, including 30 kg of rice per month, to a below poverty line (BPL) family, irrespective of the size of the family.
Soon after taking oath, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah scrapped the unit system adopted by the previous BJP government. Under the earlier unit system, each member of the BPL family was eligible for four kg of rice per month with maximum 20 kg a family.
Opposing the distribution of 30 kg of rice to all BPL families, T. Ramu, office-bearer of Vijayanagara Citizens Forum, said that allocation of food items based on the size of the family is an ideal formula.
“The larger the size of the family, the larger should be the quota,” he said.
Officials pointed out that instead of fixing 30 kg of rice a month, irrespective of the family size, the government could have increased the quota from four kg to six or seven kg per person per month. Instead of giving subsidised rice for the whole of the State, officials said, the Chief Minister could have given a thought to distributing region-specific foodgrains at subsidised prices.
The State government’s decision to scrap the unit system in the PDS might give opportunities for pilferage of food items, particularly rice, according to some officials in the Department of Food and Consumer Affairs.
There are 98.17 lakh below poverty line families in the State.
The Union government has pegged the number of such families at 31.29 lakh and allocated them foodgrains from the Food Corporation of India. The difference between the two number is categorised as extra BPL (EBPL) families by the State. Providing subsidised foodgrains to people of this category is a burden on the State government.
With the increase in the quantity of rice, the State needs an additional 1.46 lakh tonnes of rice a month. The Union government allocates 1.43 lakh tonnes of rice per month.