Chhattisgarh to start bank transfer of subsidy to PDS beneficiaries
Chhattisgarh government has decided to start direct transfer of Public distribution
system (PDS) subsidy from ration shops to the beneficiaries.
According to officials,
the pilot scheme of conditional cash transfer would initially be started from
six ration shops in urban area of Raipur, Mungeli and Dhamtari from April this
year. The aim of commencing this scheme is to avoid duplication and fake cards
According to director
of Food Civil Supplies and Consumer Protection Department, Dr Kamalpreet Singh,
ration card holders availing subsidies supplied from the six selected shops
would have to submit their bank account details along with their Aadhar card
number for inclusion in the database. Just like the LPG supply, where subsidy
is directly credited to the beneficiaries' bank account, the government would
provide subsidy amount of one month in advance.
Singh said, “The
subsidy amount will be transferred to the beneficiary as per the quantity
usually picked by him from the ration shop and he would have to pay the market
price for all the products.” He said the information of the estimated supplies
picked by the beneficiaries would have to provided to the Food and Civil
supplies department by the ration shop owners.
Singh said the market
price for the products distributed through the PDS would be decided soon.
government's decision is not in tune with the World Bank report of 2011, which
advocates the concept of phasing out of large scale public distribution of food
grains with cash transfers as a long-term solution. The report described the
benefits of the PDS scheme as "limited'', pointing out that leakage and
diversion of grains is high.
In its report, “Social
Protection for a Changing India,” the World Bank said, “In the medium to long
term, the report recommends offering households the option of a cash transfer
while continuing food-based support for specific situations such as in areas
where access is an issue, for disaster relief and for specific vulnerable
groups. This reform would not eliminate the need for food buffer stocks.”
However, officials feel
that this direct bank transfer of subsidy would be a viable alternative till
the government decides on the World Bank recommendations. This system would
however, eliminate the use of fake ration cards and plug leaks to a great
extent, they claim.
Incidentally the recent
ration card scam in the state indicates the existence of 14 lakh fake ration
cards. Incidentally, most of these fake ration cards were issued to ineligible
or non-existent beneficiaries during the run up for the assembly elections in
the state last year.