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Coronavirus lockdown | Government dismisses concerns over foodgrain access for migrants

The Hindu's news report had used data from the Food Ministry to point out that less than 15% of the targeted beneficiaries had received free grain under the scheme.

The Hindu's news report had used data from the Food Ministry to point out that less than 15% of the targeted beneficiaries had received free grain under the scheme.   | Photo Credit: S.S. Kumar

The Food Ministry did not have any data on the number of migrants across the country when it was decided to use a “liberal” estimate of eight crore for the purposes of providing free foodgrain under the Aatmanirbhar package, an official statement said.

In a response to The Hindu's news report “Foodgrain distribution meets less than 15% of target”, published on Thursday, a Food Ministry spokesperson said “facts have been presented in a manner which is intended to create a negative perception in the minds of the readers”.

“Since, no data on actual/estimated number of migrants/stranded migrants across the country was available with the DoFPD, a liberal figure of 8 crore migrant persons (10% of total 80 crore NFSA population) was estimated,” the Ministry statement said.

‘All hungry fed’

“It is a matter of satisfaction that all those who needed to be fed were fed and it is a matter of relief that this number turned out to be much less at 2.13 crore than the initially estimated number of 8 crore. Those who have availed the free food-grains under ANBS are those who needed assistance at that point in time. It needs to be understood that 8 crore migrants should not be construed as the real target but an intended target to serve if it had existed,” the Ministry said.

The Hindu's news report had used data from the Food Ministry to point out that less than 15% of the targeted beneficiaries had received free grain under the scheme. The 2.13 crore figure cited by the Ministry includes both May and June beneficiaries, although the level of overlap is not clear.

“The respective State Governments take decision on extent of utilisation/ distribution of allocated foodgrains to needy returning migrant workers after determining actual requirements at the ground level,” said the Ministry spokesperson. “Further, the data cited is provisional and final figures are still to be received.”

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Printable version | Aug 13, 2020 12:11:06 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/govt-dismisses-concerns-over-foodgrain-access-for-migrants/article31982561.ece

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