Chhattisgarh govt ensured food security amid lockdown

Chhattisgarh govt ensured food security amid lockdown

Raipur: Only a month since the first positive case of Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) was reported in India, the whole country was put to an abruptly announced nationwide strict lockdown. In April 2020, the 1st such case of Covid-19 cropped up in the city of Raipur.

Soon Chhattisgarh, which has a population of over 32 million, was put to a high alert on the commands of Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel. This nationwide lockdown disrupted the functioning of the entire world and so was the state of Chhattisgarh.

The stranded people in various districts and cities of India, workers migrating from other states and local labourers and poverty stricken population of the country had to suffer the worst, in absence of any work who otherwise also earn hand to mouth barely.

However, the Chhattisgarh state government's prompt retaliation to COVID-19 has been attributed to its prior prevalent food security oriented system which emerged as a majour relief for especially the stranded population of the state. To ensure food security of the residents of the state during lockdown and to ensure the availability of food and ration to the stranded people in various districts and cities, workers migrating from other states who couldn't move back during the lockdown, a revolutionary distribution of food grains was carried out by the Chhattisgarh government by its concerned departments.

Food distribution under universal PDS

In order to prevent further infection amid the lockdown, rice grains were distributed free of cost for 3 months, April, May and June 2020, through universal PDS to the 57 Lakh Antyodaya priority, Annapurna, single destitute and specially able ration card holders.

Food grains to suffice April and May were stored in all 12305 fair price shops within the time limit and ration card holders were provided with 3 months of food grains and other ration materials. This ensured adequate availability of food grains to the residents of the state. Aforementioned ration card holders have been provided with free distribution of 5,64,087 tonnes of rice grains as per monthly eligibility.

Chhattisgarh Government's expert leadership experience and tough decision to invest massively into the food security schemes ensured the emergency retaliation and outbreak response during the pandemic. The state government under Bhupesh Baghel adhered to systematic approach and disaster management planning came in handy by quickly deploying various departments of the state to action and thereby attaining a comprehensive response in food distribution.

Moreover, under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana, the ration card holders of the National Food Security Act 2013 were provided 5 kg food grains and 1 kg gram free of cost in addition to the monthly entitlement. Apart from the food entitlement of the Government of India, the state government also provided 5 kg of rice per member and additional 1 kg per family from April to November 2020 to the ration card holders of the state scheme. In June 2020, 1 kg of arhar dal was also provided. During the aforesaid period, 8,65,984 tonnes of additional rice and 45,781 tonnes of additional pulses / gram have been distributed free of cost.

State's role under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana

Under the Prime Minister Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana of the Government of India, under the National Food Security Act allocated 1,00,385 metric tonnes of food grains and 5,150 metric tonnes of gram per month to the state and 7,89,804 tonnes of rice and 41,200 tonnes of pulses and gram have been distributed by the state during April to November 2020,.

Distribution of rice and gram pulses to migrants under Atmanirbhar Bharat Scheme

Under the said Scheme, migrant persons / workers from other states who do not have a ration card under the Central or State Government scheme were provided 5 kg rice per member and 1 kg rice per family in the month of May and June 2020. A monthly allocation of 1,038 metric tonne of rice, 528.3 metric tonne of gram (Chana) was released under this scheme. The migrants/labourers got registered through an Android mobile app released by the district administration namely "Pravasi khadya Mitra". Registration of 2,22,605 members of 1,09,197 families was made to distribute food-grains under this scheme. 1732.9 quintal gram and 19644.1 quintal rice was distributed to the registered members in May-June through fair price shops.

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