The UPA government’s ambitious food security programme that is going to cover 7.17 crore people across the state will cost Rs 800 crore to the exchequer. In addition, food security allowance would be paid to those beneficiaries who do not receive food grains during a particular month.
Likely to be launched on December 1, the programme is going to make a host of changes in the existing public distribution system. To begin with, ration cards of only two categories will be made available, replacing the existing categories such as Antyodaya, Below Poverty Line (BPL), Annapurna and orange and white-coloured cards. “The new categories are: priority Antyodaya and priority others,” said Anil Deshmukh, minister for food, civil supplies and consumer protection.
The new ration cards, with bar codes, would be distributed in the name of female members of the family wherever applicable. Besides, the food security allowance will be deposited directly in the bank account of the registered female member of the family. The state is also mulling over a proposal to bifurcate the department of food, civil supplies and consumer protection by forming a department of food.
Another feature of the scheme is that pregnant women covered under anganwadis would get Rs 6,000 as delivery allowance and free grain supply for six months until delivery. Also, children up to the age of six years would be given free food under the scheme, as would school students till the age of 14.
Checks and fines
An important provision of the programme is that a government official would face a penalty of Rs 5,000 for failure in implementing the provisions made under the Food Security Act. In addition, two grievance redressal forums would be set up at the district and the state level each. While an additional collector would head the district-level forum, the state-level panel would comprise five members, of whom two would be women.
Did you know?
>> Of the 11.23 crore people in the state, 7.17 crore will be covered under the programme
>> Beneficiaries are entitled to 5 kg of food grains every month
>> The grains that will be made available are wheat (Rs 2/kg), rice (Rs 3/kg) and coarse grain (Re1/kg)
>> BPL families covered under the Antyodya scheme will continue to get 35 kg food grains
>> The programme also covers beneficiaries under the school education department and the women and child development department
Total number of people in the state to be covered by the programme
Number of people living in rural areas to benefit from the programme
Number of people living in cities to benefit from the programme