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Wednesday, April 08, 2020

‘One Nation, One Ration Card’: Bengal may pull out of Centre’s scheme on foodgrains

State Food Minister Jyotipriya Mallick said, “We are yet to receive a letter from the Centre (on implementation of the scheme). We have heard about the scheme and had differences of opinion on it...”

By: Express News Service | Kolkata | Updated: February 28, 2020 10:13:49 am
Ayushman Bharat Yojana, Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi, bengal govt modi food grain scheme, bengal food grain scheme State Food Minister Jyotipriya Mallick said, “We are yet to receive a letter from the Centre (on implementation of the scheme). We have heard about the scheme and had differences of opinion on it…”

After Ayushman Bharat Yojana and Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi, the West Bengal government on Thursday may not implement another Central scheme for subsidised foodgrains, ‘One Nation, One Ration Card’, because of “differences of opinion”.

State Food Minister Jyotipriya Mallick said, “We are yet to receive a letter from the Centre (on implementation of the scheme). We have heard about the scheme and had differences of opinion on it…”

Under ‘One Nation, One Ration Card’ scheme, beneficiaries can buy subsidised foodgrains from ration shops in any part of India. The system ensures that no poor is deprived of their public distribution system (PDS) entitlement.

Mallick said, “We started a state food security scheme, ‘Khadya Sathi’ (in 2018). We have completed the digitisation process of ration cards at a cost of Rs 200 crore. Can the Centre give us Rs 200 crore. The Centre already owes us Rs 5,000. Once the Centre clears the outstanding amount, we will think about joining the scheme.”

“Under the National Food Security (NFS) scheme, the West Bengal government is giving subsidised foodgrains to almost 5 crore people. But other than that, another 2 crore people, who had been previously excluded from the BPL list, are also getting the benefit of NFS. Moreover, tea garden workers in Junglemahal and Singur are also getting this facility,” said an official from the food department.

The Central government has give the states and union territories time till June 30, 2020 to implement the scheme. Ten states — Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Haryana, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Maharasthra, Rajasthan, Telangana and Tripura — are providing portability of PDS entitlements, Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan had said last month.

Earlier, the state government had opted out of Ayushman Bharat-Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogyo Yojana, which provides free health care to the poor, and Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Niddhi, which gives Rs 6,000 income support to farmers annually.

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