The Annapurna food packet scheme launched by the Congress government in Rajasthan on Tuesday as part of its public welfare measures is set to benefit about 1.10 crore people, including the poor and destitute families covered in a survey during the COVID pandemic. The scheme is primarily meant for the families covered by the National Food Security Act (NFSA).
Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot inaugurated the scheme at a function marking the 77th Independence Day here, while announcing that free food packets would be supplied to the poor families, which had received an assistance of ₹5,500 each during the pandemic, in addition to the NFSA families. About 1.05 crore NFSA beneficiaries have got themselves registered for the scheme at the inflation relief camps.
The State government will spend ₹4,500 crore annually on the scheme’s implementation. The Annapurna scheme is the latest among a host of public welfare schemes launched by the Congress government in the State. Mr. Gehlot had announced it in the 2023-24 State Budget presented in the Assembly earlier this year.
The eligible beneficiaries will get the Annapurna food packets every month from the fair price shops (FPS) for free, for which the FPS will get a commission of ₹10 per packet. Each packet will contain one kg each of gram pulses, sugar and iodised salt, one litre soybean refined edible oil, 100 gram each of chilli powder and coriander powder, and 50 gram turmeric powder.
Mr. Gehlot said the Annapurna scheme would help realise his government’s resolution of “no one should sleep hungry in Rajasthan”.
In addition to the main function at B.M. Birla Auditorium in Jaipur, the launch ceremony was organised simultaneously at more than 25,000 FPS at district and block headquarters, including the newly formed districts.
The Chief Minister said it was the duty of an elected government to provide social security and run schemes for people’s welfare. “We are not doing any favour by starting these schemes. Contrary to the BJP’s claims, these are not doles. Even the BJP-ruled States have been taking such measures,” he said.
Mr. Gehlot also urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to implement social security schemes, similar to the ones launched in Rajasthan, all over the country.
Mr. Gehlot earlier announced at the State-level Independence Day function at Sawai Man Singh Stadium here that 53 dams in Dausa, Sawai Madhopur, Karauli, Bharatpur and Alwar districts would be connected with the Eastern Rajasthan Canal Project (ERCP) to meet the drinking and irrigation water demand. The State government has been demanding national project status for ERCP from the Centre.