Jharkhand faces food grains shortage under PMGKY - Hindustan Times
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Jharkhand faces food grains shortage under PMGKY

By, Jamshedpur
Aug 13, 2023 10:08 PM IST

According to the officials, the issue came to light when several PDS shops in Jamshedpur posted notices declaring a lack of food grain stock for August, thus preventing them from distribution.

Many of the public distribution system (PDS) shops across Jharkhand have not yet received food grains for August due to delays in reconciling the allocation of food grains to the state under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) and the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY) by the central government, officials familiar with the developments said.

Many of PDS shops across Jharkhand have not yet received food grains for August (ANI)
Many of PDS shops across Jharkhand have not yet received food grains for August (ANI)

According to the officials, the issue came to light when several PDS shops in Jamshedpur posted notices declaring a lack of food grain stock for August, thus preventing them from distribution.

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According to the owners of these PDS shops, they were informed from the godowns that the food grain quota for August had expired, resulting in them not receiving food grains for the month.

As a consequence, this has affected 672 out of 1200 PDS shops in East Singhbhum district alone, thereby depriving 2.50 lakh impoverished families of their entitlement to free rice and wheat, which they rely on through NFSA and PMGKY since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, officials said.

“The situation is not limited to East Singhbhum district alone. It’s more or less the same elsewhere. The Union government has instructed the states to reconcile the food grain allocation under the PMGKY with that of NFSA. However, there is a disparity in the calculation. While the Union government calculates that 28,000 quintals of food grains need to be adjusted in our district, our own calculation suggests only 8000 quintals need adjustment. I have forwarded my report to the state food supply department. Hopefully, PDS shops will receive the food grain quota for August and September in the next two months,” said Rajiv Ranjan, East Singhbhum district supply officer (DSO), in an interview with HT on Sunday.

Officials familiar with the situation have indicated that the situation is worse in the state capital, Ranchi, where 90% of PDS shops in the district have not received food grains for August. “Across the state, 60% of PDS shops could not distribute food grains for August. The Union government has requested a reconciliation of PMGKY accounts with those of NFSA to determine the quantity of unused food grains in the state under PMGKY,” said a state-level officer requesting anonymity.

The Centre has extended the PMGKY scheme, which provides free food grains to 80% of the country’s population in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, until December 2023. This extension has prompted the need for a reconciliation process between PMGKY and NFSA.

The official added that the state government recently submitted its reconciliation report to the Union government.

“The process was time-consuming due to the three-stage reconciliation process: aligning the state’s account with the Food Corporation of India (FCI) and Union government accounts. All of this followed district-level reports covering the stocks held by PDS shop owners and state food corporation (SFC) godowns,” the official explained.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Debashish Sarkar is a special correspondent based in Jamshedpur. He has been covering government, administration, politics and crime among other things.

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