New Delhi, 03 June 2021: The Secretary, Department of Food & Public Distribution Sudhanshu Pandey today briefed the media persons about the progress of food grains distribution under PMGKAY-III and One Nation One Ration Card scheme.

Speaking about the “Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana” (PM-GKAY III), the Secretary said that more than 63.67 Lakh MT foodgrains (i.e. around 80 % of total PMGKAY allocation for May & June 2021) have been lifted by States/UTs from FCI depot. Around 28 Lakh MT foodgrains have been distributed by 34 States/UTs to around 55 Crore NFSA beneficiaries for May 2021 and around 1.3 Lakh MT foodgrains have been distributed to around 2.6 Crore NFSA beneficiaries for June 2021, after following due COVID protocols.

Furthermore, he added that as on 03.06.2021, under National Food Security act, foodgrains have been distributed to around 90% &12 %of NFSA beneficiaries for May and June 2021, respectively, incurring a food subsidy of more than Rs. 13,000 Crore for May and June 2021. The food subsidy incurred for PMGKAY, so far, is more than Rs. 9,200 Crore for May and June 2021.

Shri Pandey said that the Department is continuously reviewing the scheme and pursuing with States/UTswho are taking steps to give wide publicity about PM-GKAY III through publicity in print/ electronic media & display of banners at Fair Price Shop etc.

Emphasising the importance of ‘One Nation One Ration Card’ (ONORC), Secretary, DFPD shared that it is an ambitious plan and endeavour of the Department to introduce the nation-wide portability of ration cards under the National Food Security Act, 2013 (NFSA).

He said that at present, a monthly average of about 1.35 Crore portability transactions are being recorded under ONORC plan (including intra-state transactions). Further, a total of nearly 27.8 Crore portability transactions have taken place all across States/UTs since the inception of ONORC plan from August 2019, out of which almost 19.8 Crore portability transactions have been recorded during the COVID-19 period i.e., from April 2020 to May 2021.

Given the potential of One Nation One Ration Card (ONORC) plan to ensure the access to NFSA foodgrains to Migrant NFSA beneficiaries during the COVID-19 crisis, this department has been continuously pursuing with States/UTs through VC meetings/advisories/letters etc to implement the programme to its full potential by proactively reaching out to the migrant beneficiaries.

These States/UTs have been requested to undertake wide-spread publicity and awareness of the ONORC plan, 14445 toll-free number and ‘Mera Ration’ Mobile application that was recently developed by Department in association with NIC for the benefit of NFSA beneficiaries, specifically the migrant NFSA beneficiaries, in ten different languages viz. English, Hindi, Oriya, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, Gujarati& Marathi. Efforts are afoot to include more regional languages in the ‘MeraRation’App, going forward.

While answering to one question about reduction in edible oils duty, Shri Pandey said that the edible oil prices have already started coming down in international market and there is a 15 to 20 % shrink in demand. He said prices are continue to decline further and this trend is showing in international market too. Since, the softening of oil prices is happening and as trend shows it will continue, so there is no need to reduce the duty, he further added that the Government is reviewing the situation every week.

In reply to another question, Secretary DFPD said that in view of the COVID scenario, coverage of all eligible persons from most vulnerable & economically weaker sections of population (i.e. street dwellers, rag pickers, hawkers, rickshaw pullers, migrant labours etc.) under National Food Security Act is the foremost priority of this Department. As the operational responsibilities of identification of eligible persons/households under NFSA and issuance of ration cards to them through continuous review, rests with States/UTs. He said that the Department has issued instruction to all States/UTs on 02nd June, 2021 to launch a special drive to proactively issue NFSA ration cards to such persons without ration cards from above such categories by utilizing the available coverage under their overall NFSA limits. Out of total NFSA coverage limit of 81.35 Crore, a gap of nearly 1.97 crore can be also utilised by States/UTs for this purpose.