New Delhi, May 8 : Union Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Ram Vilas Paswan on Friday said the delay in supply and distribution of pulses is due to late intimation by States and Union Territories over the choice of particular pulses besides the logistics involved in transportation from different States during the COVID-19 lockdown. Addressing a press conference here, Mr Paswan said, as on date, about 51,105 LMT of pluses have been distributed across 21 States and five UTs.
The Minister said in many inaccessible locations, such as Vijayanagar in Arunachal Pradesh on the Myanmar border and Ladakh, pulses have been lifted by air route under extremely challenging conditions. Besides, some States like Uttar Pradesh have decided to distribute pulses with food grains in order to minimise social contact leading to delayed distribution, he said. The Government is making efforts to ensure that food grains are readily available for distribution in all the States for meeting their requirements under the ''Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PM-GKAY)''.
Mr Paswan said the FCI has already loaded a total number of 2641 rakes (including Wheat and Rice) towards this end and the approx quantity loaded is 73.95 LMT (55.38 LMT Rice and 18.57 LMT Wheat). This is an all time record as this heavy/ huge movement of foodgrains was accomplished during the period from March 24 to May 8. He said 21 States/UT have completed more than 90 per cent distribution for the month of April under PM-GKAY covering nearly 41.35 Crore beneficiaries in these States/UTs. Some States/UTs namely, Andaman Nicobar Island, D&NH and Daman & Diu, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Puducherry, Himachal Pradesh etc are distributing foodgrains for two months in one go under PM-GKAY.
The Minister said six crore special SMSs have also been sent by about 20 States/UTs to NFSA ration card holders for awareness generation about the additional benefit of free food grains under PM-GKAY. PM-GKAY is aimed at ameliorating the hardships faced by the poor due to various economic disruptions caused by the COVID19 pandemic. Under the package, the Government aims to ensure no poor vulnerable family/person suffers on account of non-availability of foodgrains due to disruptions in the next three months. Accordingly, the Department of Food & Public Distribution has also announced the policy decision taken in this regard to distribute additional foodgrains to about 80 Crore NFSA beneficiaries under the PM-GKAY in all States/UTs for a period of three months April to June 2020, including the UTs which are on DBT Cash Transfer mode.
Besides the food grains, Mr Paswan said the Government is also distributing free one kg of pulses to about 19.50 crore households for three months in the country. He said, this is the first time that the Department of Consumer Affairs is carrying such a massive operation of pulses. Government has allowed use of its stocks lying in about 165 NAFED godowns across the country for this scheme. Over 100 dal mills across the country have been pressed into service by NAFED so far. (UNI)