‘One nation one ration’ and ‘free foodgrain’ schemes fail badly

The ‘one nation one ration card’ scheme and distribution of free foodgrain, announced by the Centre for crores of migrants facing hunger and destitution during the Covid-19 lockdown, have badly failed

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NH Web Desk

The 'one nation one ration card' scheme and distribution of free foodgrain have failed,. They were announced by the Centre for crores of migrants facing hunger and destitution during the Covid-19 .

Of the total 8 crore intended beneficiaries, only 2.5 crore gained access to free foodgrain for survival. Government failed an estimated 5.5 crore migrants. The failed foodgrain distribution under Atma Nirbhar Bharat sceme has proved to be another 'Jumla' from the Prime Minister.

The 'one nation one ration card' scheme and distribution of free foodgrain, announced by the Centre for crores of migrants facing hunger and destitution during the Covid-19 lockdown, have badly failed. The data submitted by the government officials before a parliamentary standing committee suggests that there is a large gap between the intended coverage of the schemes and actual beneficiaries on the ground.

Till July 2020, only 2,000 interstate transactions took place through the electronic point of sale (ePoS) mechanism. That means the one nation one ration card scheme benefitted barely 13,000 migrants. The total foodgrain distributed through the scheme was a meagre 31,500 kg.These details were provided by officials of the Food department during a deposition before the Parliamentary Committee on Labour earlier this week.

Compared to the government’s claims that 24 states and 90 per cent of ration shops are already integrated into the scheme, 31,500 kg of foodgrain accessed through it is terrible going. The Department of Food & Public Distribution in its monthly report for July 2020 has virtually admitted that the one nation one ration card scheme is struggling to make an impact.

Paragraph 3 of the department’s July report highlights that “under PDS reforms, a total of 4.88 lakh (90.4 per cent) Fair Price Shops (FPSs) have been automated by installing ePoS devices".Despite the seamless integration of PDS into one cluster, the number of transactions remains low, the department reasons it due to Covid while the pandemic is the time that demands the free ration distribution the most.The one nation one ration card scheme, launched on June 1, 2020, plans to cover the whole country by March 31, 2021. However, the established mechanism has failed to provide access to the migrant workforce .The free foodgrain scheme aimed as an instant remedy for migrants, rendered jobless and homeless due to Covid crisis, did not reach them. Under the Atma Nirbhar Bharat (ANB) Scheme, the Centre had earmarked 8 lakh metric tonnes of foodgrain.

Of the total 8 crore intended beneficiaries, only 2.5 crore gained access to free foodgrain for survival. Government failed an estimated 5.5 crore migrants. The failed foodgrain distribution under Atma Nirbhar Bharat sceme has proved to another 'Jumla' from the Prime Minister.

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