Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitious free ration scheme has failed to take off and make an impact on the ground, as 11 states have distributed less than one percent of the allocated foodgrains. States such as Goa and Telangana have distributed zero foodgrains. Andhra Pradesh, Goa, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Ladakh, Maharashtra, Meghalaya, Odisha, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Telangana and Tripura are among the states which distributed less than 1 per cent of the food they lifted, showed the latest data of the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution. Goa and Telangana did not distribute free grains for April and May, while six states and union territories – Bihar, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Sikkim, and Ladakh – did not distribute the grains in June.
While Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that the scheme will benefit 8 crore non-ration card holders, free foodgrains have been distributed to only around a quarter of the targeted beneficiaries. The free foodgrains were received by 2.14 crore migrant workers so far across the country, said Food Secretary Sudhanshu Pandey, in a digital press conference. He added that six or seven states, including Goa and Telangana, have informed the centre that they will not be able to implement the scheme since migrant workers have moved out of their states.
The states and UTs have lifted 80 per cent of the total foodgrains allocation of 8 lakh tonnes, however, these states managed to distribute only 1.07 lakh tonnes in two months of April and May so far. This raises serious concern on the implementation part of the free ration scheme.
Meanwhile, PM Modi has extended the facility of distributing free foodgrains under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana till November 2020. He said that during festivals, the need increases, hence the government is taking the step to ensure adequate food supply to the poor section amid festive seasons. The government’s move has been said to benefit 80 crore people, with a cost of over Rs 90,000 crore to the exchequer.