The Pune Zilla Parishad’s decision to provide temporary ‘ration cards’ to more than 80,000 undocumented people in the district, so they can receive foodgrains under the Public Distribution System (PDS), should be replicated across the state, according to BJP MLA Ranajagjitsinh Patil.
But the scheme may face problems of implementation in financially-weaker Zilla Parishads, Patil told The Indian Express. “I have asked the district collector of Osmanabad to collate a village-wise list of people who don’t have ration cards. We have proposed that a portion of the cess collected by the Zilla Parishad be diverted to provide foodgrains to such people,” he said.
Instead of relying only on Zilla Parishad funds, the state government should also ensure funds are available through CSR or similar schemes, said Patil.
Under the Pune Zilla Parishad scheme, people will be able to get grains from the PDS scheme with the help of the India Post Payments Bank . This account can be opened in less than a minute and would only require Aadhaar authentication.
The responsibility of identifying and opening the accounts in villages have been given to the sarpach, gram panchayat member and the police patil. The Pune ZP has also tied up with corporate NGOs, which will procure grains from the Food Corporation of India (FCI) for distribution at a later stage. The foodgrain will be home-delivered in order to prevent crowding at distribution centres.
To make the scheme more sustainable, Patil said it should be taken up at the state level with the state government forming a committee to oversee it. For Zilla Parishads which may not have access to CSR funds, “a state-level committee should look into upscaling this model and towards distribution of funds in areas where it is necessary,” he said.
Kolhapur South’s Congress MLA Ruturaj Patil also called for greater coordination between the Centre and state government to ensure foodgrains are provided to every one. Patil, who has made arrangements to ensure 1,000 people in his constituency who don’t have ration cards get foodgrains, said, “In times of calamity, there should be cooperation”.
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