Minister for Food Civil Supplies & Consumer Affairs (FCS&CA), Choudhary Zulfkar Ali on Thursday informed the Legislative Council that the government has decided to extend the validity of existing ration cards, expiring next month, by one year.
Winding up discussion on the working of the department under his control allowed by the Chairman in the Upper House, the Minister further announced that the department has decided to go for bio-metric distribution by the end of 2018 as part of reforms being introduced to bring transparency in the public distribution system.
Responding to the issues raised by members, he said that the consumers are being provided essential commodities as per entitled quota within fixed timeline and due attention is being paid to ensure they are provided quality of food grain.
The Minister announced that the validity of ration card which is expiring would be extended by one year adding that a Government order in this regard would be issued soon.
He informed that the department has successfully covered 119.25 Crore populace under National Food Security Scheme (NFSA) who are being provided essential commodities as per norms. He said implementation of NFSA coupled with series of reforms has greatly helped to contain the menace of black-marketing of the ration.
“The cheapest edible commodity in the market you can get is the rice from the food supplies store, which bears testimony to the successful implementation of NFSA Act,” he said adding that it has helped to reduce adulteration, pilferage and to bring transparency in the system.
“By the end of 2018 the beneficiaries will get ration through Bio-metric and for the purpose machines are being installed in various districts of the state,” he added.
With regard to the distribution of sugar to the consumers, he informed that 74.13 lakh beneficiaries were provided sugar by the state out of its own resources as the subsidy on sugar has been withdrawn by GoI with effect from April 2017. He also said that 70% of the state populace is getting rice at lowest prices.
The Minister informed that 80.56% beneficiaries have been provided ration cards and distribution of remaining cards is being expedited, while the leftover population is being included in the list.