While the food security scheme will ensure the right to food to all eligible families - regular supply of wheat and rice at highly subsidised prices - the beneficiaries feel that they will actually get lesser ration than what they get through the public distribution system (PDS).
Under the new scheme, the poorest of the poor Antodaya card holders will get 35kg food grain, while the other beneficiaries of the PDS - below poverty line, slum and resettlement colonies' ration card holders - will get 5kg foodgrains per member.
But nothing has changed on the ground for the 1.03 lakh Antodaya families. They were getting 35 kg foodgrains till now - wheat for Rs 2/kilo and rice for Rs 3/kilo - and will get the same quantity at the same price under the new scheme as well.
The beneficiaries under the remaining categories used to get 35 kg food grain but will now get 5kg per person. Simply put, if the number of family members who have their names on the food security card is less than seven, the families will get less food grain.
"I will now get only 15kg of food grain in place of 35kg I used to get. I think I will now have to buy some wheat and rice from the open market at a very high price for our consumption," said Preeti, one of the 12 women who were given the food security cards by UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi during the launch function. There are only three family members registered on her food security card.
Ramesh Kumar, a daily wager who had come with his neighbours to attend the launch function, said he was not sure if the scheme would actually benefit him.
"We are a big family of six people and we always have some guests from our native village at our home. The government is promising us 30kg food grain but I am not sure if it will be enough," Kumar said.