Coronavirus outbreak: Government begins free ration distribution amid confusion

Updated: 16 April, 2020 15:46 IST | Samiullah Khan | Mumbai

Shopkeepers have a hard time explaining eligibility criteria to customers as many throng ration shops seeking free rice and essentials

People took free ration on Wednesday
People took free ration on Wednesday

The central government has begun distribution of free ration from the Public distribution system (PDS) following the lockdown in the wake of COVID-19. The beneficiaries of this scheme are those who come under the poverty line, or their annual income does not exceed R59,000 per annum or those who have been taking ration from the government shops regularly. On Wednesday, shopkeepers had a hard time dealing with customers as people demanded ration for each name on the ration card
Speaking with mid-day, a ration shop owner said, "Names on the ration card must be linked with Aadhaar card. Only those ration card holders whose name is linked can get 5 kg of free rice per person."

Another shopkeeper Bachcho Bhai Gami said, "I have a couple of government ration shops. In one of my shops, 1,500 ration cardholders are registered. But only around 500 people take ration every month. Today we distributed free ration to around 450."

Ration shop owners explain eligibility criteria to customers
Ration shop owners explain eligibility criteria to customers

"We had people coming for free ration who have never come before. So we had to make them understand the government rules and this took a lot of our time. The state government is going to provide ration to such people, but not for free. For such people, the government will charge R8 and R12 for 3 kg wheat and 2 kg rice respectively," he added.

"We only provide free ration to those whose names appear online if the ration card has been registered and linked with their Aadhaar card. Others will have to apply offline and then the ration shop owner will send a list of such cardholders. I have sent the proposal to the government and requested them to allow ration for all the names registered in the ration card," said Suhas Shevale the rationing officer.

Quantity of rice beneficiaries can avail for free

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First Published: 16 April, 2020 07:10 IST

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