'Delhi, WB haven't distributed free foodgrains for May'

Delhi, West Bengal not yet distributed May month quota of free foodgrains under PMGAY: Paswan

Union Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan on Friday said Delhi and West Bengal governments have not yet distributed the May month quota of 5 kg free foodgrains under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Anna Yojana (PMGAY) to ration card holders, while other states and Union territories have completed the distribution, fully or partially.

Many beneficiaries are still waiting for the May month quota in states such as Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Maharashtra, Himachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Kerala and Manipur where up to 80 per cent distribution has been done, according to the official data.

On distribution of one kg free pulses per household under the PMGAY, Paswan said states have lifted 1.68 lakh tonnes of pulses and are yet to provide month-wise distribution of the same. The progress report is awaited.

To ensure no poor goes hungry, the Centre has allocated 5 kg rice or wheat per beneficiary and 1 kg pulses per family for free under the PMGAY for April-June as part of the Rs 20-lakh crore economic package announced to help those affected due to the lockdown imposed to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Follow live updates on coronavirus here

"Delhi and West Bengal have distributed April month quota of foodgrains under the PMGAY. Delhi achieved 96 per cent distribution in April, while West Bengal 93 per cent. However in the month of May, the two states have achieved zero," Paswan said via digital press conference.

Barring Delhi and West Bengal, other states and union territories have distributed fully or partially the May month quota of free grains under the PMGAY, he said.

"We have written several letters to Delhi and West Bengal governments on this issue," he added.

According to the latest data, Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland have distributed fully the May month quota to ration card holders through public distribution system (PDS).

More than a dozen states/UTs like Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Telangana, Tripura, Uttarakhand, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Megalaya, Odisha, and Rajasthan have completed over 90 per cent distribution of grains for the current month.

Free quota of grains given under the PMGAY to 81 crore ration card holders is over and above subsidised grains distributed under the National Food Security Act (NFSA).

On pulses distribution under PMGAY, Paswan said his ministry has not received data on month-wise distribution progress but states have reported distribution of 1.68 lakh tonnes of dals to beneficiaries so far.

So far, about 3.70 lakh tonnes of pulses have reached states out of the total quantity of 4.7 lakh tonnes dispatched by the central government. Barring West Bengal, other states have either lifted pulses fully or partially for distribution, he said.

On a report about distribution of poor-quality pulses, the minister said the government had initially received complaints about the quality especially from Delhi and Jharkhand. However, pulses have been replaced there. Now, there are no such complaints from any states.

"We can tolerate delay in milling raw pulses but not poor quality. The issue has been addressed. A standard operating procedure has been issued in this regard," Paswan said.

Paswan also mentioned that the government has enough stock to feed the poor people in the country and appealed to state governments to ensure timely distribution of free foodgrains under the PMGAY in this COVID-19 crisis.

Currently, state-run Food Corporation of India (FCI) has more than 76.3 million tonnes of foodgrains stock, much more than the monthly requirement under PDS and other welfare schemes.

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox

Check out all newsletters

Get a round-up of the day's top stories in your inbox