Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh): The change in the ratio of rice and wheat provided under Public Distribution System (PDS) has pushed up the prices of wheat flour in the open market, thus hitting the very section, which the PDS seeks to protect. The price of wheat flour in the local market has gone up by at least 20 per cent in last three months.
About 3.24 lakh families in Bhopal district are entitled to foodgrains at subsidised rates. Earlier, 4 kg of wheat and 1 kg of rice per person per month was provided under Pradhanmantri Gareeb Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY). Same was the ratio for beneficiaries under Mukhyamantri Annapurna Yojana and priority households identified under National Food Security Act.
The ratio was changed in May this year. Now, only 5 kg rice per person is provided under PMGKAY. In case of other two schemes, two kg wheat and three kg rice is given," said District Supply Control Officer Jyoti Shah.
There are more than 1.16 crore BPL and Antyodaya cards holders in the state who are covered under National Food Security Act. In 2020, chief minister Shivraj Singh had announced Re 1 per kg wheat, rice and salt for 37 lakh poor people who are not covered under National Food Security Act.
The reduction in wheat quota under PDS has forced the poor to buy wheat flour from the market, leading to a spurt in its price. "Aata was priced at Rs 24 per kg in July. Now, it sells for Rs 30 per kg or higher," Paraag Malviya of Radhe Traders told Free Press.
"I am buying Aaata from open market at Rs 30 per kg. Earlier, I used to get wheat for Re 1 kg. This is a vast gap. It is putting a tremendous strain on our resources," said Pan Bai who works as a domestic help.