Gram sabhas fail to identify families for national food security scheme

SOLAN: With gram sabhas failing to identify eligible families that are supposed to benefit from the centrally-sponsored National Food Security Scheme introduced in October last year in the state, the scheme had failed to benefit the targeted population.

Ambika Sharma

Tribune News Service

Solan, December 23

With gram sabhas failing to identify eligible families that are supposed to benefit from the centrally-sponsored National Food Security Scheme introduced in October last year in the state, the scheme had failed to benefit the targeted population.

Out of the about 35,000 families enlisted under the Public Distribution System (PDS) in the district, merely 2,600 could be successfully included in the scheme.

The deadline for identifying eligible families has been extended time and again by the Union government. After the expiry of the first deadline in July, it was extended to October-end. It has again been extended by another six months now.

The scheme is supposed to include 56.23 per cent of the rural population and 30.9 per cent of the urban population in the state. Gram sabhas have been assigned the job of identifying the eligible families.

According to the criteria fixed by the Union government, all beneficiaries of the Antyodaya Ann Yojna, which comprise the bottom strata of the Below Poverty Line (BPL) population, will be included in this scheme apart from the priority households which includes people who draw various pensions from the the Social Welfare Department, Tibetan refugees and families chosen by the gram sabhas.

An official of the Food and Civil Supplies Department while elaborating on the hardships being faced by the gram sabhas in enlisting such families said that families having two members were reluctant to be included in this scheme as the quantum of foodgrain available under it was lesser than that available under the PDS system.

Though rice was available at a subsidised rate of Rs 3 per kg, each member will get only 2 kg rice. Similarly, each member will get only 3 kg wheat at the rate of Rs 2 per kg.

Not much headway had been made in enlisting the required number of eligible families in successive gram sabhas held since October 2013.The state government is now banking on the next gram sabha meeting to be held in January to achieve total inclusion of eligible families.

Though some districts like Bilaspur have achieved cent per cent inclusion, Solan district is lagging behind in identifying the requisite number of individuals. The states can also use data from the socio-economic and caste census as per the guidelines of the Union government to ensure that eligible families can benefit from the scheme.

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