16L more beneficiaries come under Khadya Sathi scheme
The state government has decided to bring 16 lakh more beneficiaries under the 'Khadya Sathi' scheme in Bengal who can now avail rice at Rs 2 per kg every month.
The Food Supply Department has a plan to distribute 5 kg rice to each member of a family in a month. If a family has five members, it would get 25 kg rice per month. The food supply department had sent a file to the Finance department seeking funds for the smooth running of the scheme.
It has been learnt that the finance department has accepted the proposal and agreed to provide the sum so that more number of people can be brought under the ambit of this scheme. According to the food supply department, people belonging to the BPL category would get this privilege. It was learnt that the state government will have to bear Rs 4,500 crore for the entire scheme. Before starting the new project, the food supply department had asked all the District Magistrates to prepare a list of beneficiaries. The Food Supply Department has given clearance to the list submitted by the District Magistrates.
It may be mentioned here that after coming to power, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had instructed the state Food and Supply Department to provide rice and wheat at Rs 2 per kg to around seven crore people in the state as part of its food security scheme named 'Khadya Sathi'.
It had initially aimed to ensure that 70 lakh people in the state get subsidised food and cereals at half the market price while over seven crore people would receive 5 kg of food grain every month at Rs 2 per kg. Now, the Food Supply Department is trying to provide the benefit of this scheme to more number of people in the state.
The 'Khadya Sathi' scheme has seen as a huge success as the Food Department has done exceptionally well to deliver foodgrains in the remotest districts of Bengal.
The Public Distribution System (PDS) has undergone major revamp under the Mamata Banerjee-government. As per this scheme, around seven crore, comprising almost 90 percent of the state's population, get rice and wheat at Rs 2 per kg. Currently, the department is trying to ensure food safety to more number of people who cannot avail rice at Rs 2 per kg.
A senior official of the Food Supply Department said that the new scheme is expected to start from May this year after the Finance department has given its nod and agreed to allot additional funds. Around 16 lakh rational card holders would be covered under it. The department has adequate amount of rice for this new initiative, an official added.