'Digital ration cards have reached 8.46 crore people'
Kolkata: The state Food and Supplies department has already completed distribution of digital ration cards among 8.46 crore people.
The digital ration cards of 11.21 lakh people have already been prepared and sent to the district magistrates, from whom it will go to the sub-divisional officer (SDO) and will finally reach the card holder through the block development officers (BDO).
It may be mentioned that the issuing of digital rations cards is a unique step taken up by the state government after the change of guard in the state and for the time being, the task is almost complete as the remaining 11.21 lakh people are going to get their digital ration cards soon.
This comes at the time when the state government is taking all necessary steps to ensure that common people do not face any inconvenience when they go to a fair price shop. Stress has also been given on direct procurement of paddy from farmers. The state government has allotted Rs 300 crore to give "Utsaho Bhata" to farmers during procurement of paddy from them from special camps, which are set up at different places all across the state by the Food and Supplies department.
In a bid to encourage farmers to sell paddy directly to the state government, the concerned department had been organising special camps since 2016-17 financial year. The farmers, who sell their produce in the special camps, get Rs 20 extra per quintal as "Utsaho Bhata", apart from the usual Rs 1,550 for a quintal of paddy.
So far, the state Food and Supplies department has organised 337 special camps and self-help groups and cooperative societies have organised 720 such camps across the state. In 2017-18 a target of procuring 52 lakh metric tonnes of paddy has been set. Till the end of January, the state government has already procured 16.24 lakh metric tonnes, which is around 2 lakh metric tonnes more than the target set for January.
It may be mentioned that the paddy production in Bengal is more than the requirement for consumption by the people in the state. So, the state is in a comfortable position of exporting 8 lakh metric tonnes of rice.
Moreover, the Food Corporation of India (FCI) has even written to the state government, urging to supply boiled rice for Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Jharkhand. This comes at a time when FCI has taken 57,600 metric tonnes of rice from the state Food and Supplies department, for mid-day meals and ICDS scheme in different parts of the country.