As part of the Economic Measures (Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan) announced by the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, many short and long term measures supporting the poor including migrant workers have been taken up including distribution of free food grains and pulses to 8 crore migrant labourers who are not covered under the National Food Security Act or State PDS Scheme, according to the Union Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Ram Vilas Paswan.
He announced this during a media interaction via video conference in Krishi Bhawan in New Delhi today. He said that arrangements have been made to supply 5 kg per person per month free of cost for two months during May & June 2020.
Paswan said that to mitigate the plight of migrants during this precarious COVID-19 situation and also ensure availability of food grains to them and their families, 8 LMT of food grains has been allocated to States and union territories and the Government of India will bear the entire cost on account of such distribution including transportation within the State, dealers’ margin etc.
He further said that the State-wise allocation orders have been issued. The allocation has been made taking 10% of the total number of beneficiaries covered under NFSA in a particular State. The identification of beneficiaries and distribution of food grains to such beneficiaries will be the responsibility of respective States, he said adding that the states were requested to share their details after fully distributing allocated food grains including the details of leftover and balance food grains, if any, to this Department not later than 15 July 2020.
Paswan said that he will convene a meeting with all State Food Ministers next week to review the distribution of food grains.
Referring to the National Portability of ration card under ‘One Nation One Card’ Scheme, Paswan said the department has already started Integrated Management of Public Distribution System (IM-PDS) in the country. As on May 1st, 2020 beneficiaries of 17 states have onboarded the ‘One Nation One Card’ scheme. He said 3 more states will be added by June 2020 and by August 2020 a total of 23 states will be part of this scheme. He further said PDS beneficiaries can draw their ration at any FPS shop with biometric verification anywhere across the ‘One Nation One Card’ covered states.