States have picked up over 17 lakh tonnes foodgrains from FCI godowns

Several States, led by Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, have begun lifting additional food grain from the Food Corporation of India (FCI), in order to provide the extra free ration of 5 kg per person promised under the Centre’s COVID-19 welfare package. However, only a few States have begun offering the scheme to beneficiaries as yet.

According to FCI data released on Tuesday night, a total of 17.43 lakh metric tonnes of grains have been unloaded by more than 15 States since the lockdown began. This includes 7.25 lakh tonnes of wheat and 10.19 lakh tonnes of rice.

U.P. largest

Uttar Pradesh has been the largest beneficiary so far, lifting almost 2.5 lakh tonnes of foodgrains, followed by Bihar, which has lifted 2.1 lakh tonnes so far. Karnataka, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu have also picked up large quantities.

Also read: How the coronavirus crisis is affecting food supply

“FCI has sent enough stocks to States throughout the country to implement the PM Garib Kalyan Ann Yojana (PMGKAY) wherein 5 kg foodgrain per person per month for next three months has to be distributed free to all National Food Security Act (NFSA) beneficiaries,” said a Food Ministry statement, adding that about 15 States had started lifting grains for this purpose, apart from the regular NFSA allocation.

However, reports from around the country suggest that the extra free ration announced by the Centre has only started making it into the hands of consumers in a few States so far.

On distribution

Rajasthan ration card holders have reportedly begun receiving the double ration. In Tamil Nadu, a senior official of the Civil Supplies department said the distribution of additional rice to ration cardholders has also begun along with the original entitlement. This is over and above the State government’s move to give free rice, sugar, pulses and edible oil to all ration card holders, apart from a cash dole of ₹1,000 each.

However, in some other States, the Centre’s extra allocation is being mixed up with benefits announced by the State. In Jharkhand, for example, the State government’s announcement to give two months worth of ration in April itself at a subsidised cost is creating confusion on whether this includes the Centre’s doubled ration amount or not. In Odisha, reports suggest that three months worth of regular ration is being given in advance in some areas, but the Central allocation has not yet been distributed.

In States like Gujarat and Delhi, the State governments decided to give the regular allocation free of cost, but the Centre’s extra allocation is not yet being distributed, according to ground reports. In fact, FCI data shows that Delhi is yet to lift its allocation as well.

(Inputs from T. Ramakrishnan)

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Printable version | Aug 1, 2021 2:18:48 PM |

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