In a major policy decision, the Maha Vikas Aghadi government will issue temporary ration cards to migrants and others affected by the Covid pandemic.
The government also intends to develop an app to provide tokens and time for families to collect the ration from shops based on SMS. Those holding rations cards in other states may be given an option to take ration partly in Maharashtra for members living here and back in their states for the rest of the family.
A food and civil supply department officer said that under the One Nation One Ration Card scheme the migrant workers and workers from other districts residing in Mumbai and Thane regions will be provided food grains through fair price shops through portability.
The government proposes to form Majha Ration Majha Adhikar (My Ration My Right) platform and create awareness by roping in voluntary organisations among the beneficiaries under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) Antyodaya Scheme and Pradhan Mantri Garabin Kalyan Yojana.
Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has already announced that eligible beneficiaries under the NFSA scheme and beneficiaries from priority families will be provided free of cost 3 kg wheat and 2 kg rice per member for April and May. The beneficiaries under the Antyodaya food scheme will get free 35 kg of food grains per ration card.
According to the government circular, of the eligible beneficiaries under NFSA scheme 90 per cent ration card holders are getting benefit through online while the food and civil supply department along with the voluntary organizations will search 10 per cent eligible beneficiaries who will also be distributed food grains that are due for them.
The Maharashtra Legislative Council Deputy Chairperson Dr Neelam Gorhe, who had sent series of letters to the Chief Minister seeking the government’s move to distribute food grains to migrants and others affected by the pandemic, said, ‘’ If poor people do not have ration card or do not know when ration will come, social organizations can participate in this scheme.’’ She hailed the government’s My Ration My Right move to create awareness among the deprived sections with the help of non-government organisations.
Further, the department will register eligible beneficiaries online as they are currently not digitized. The department has acknowledged the work done by Tata Institute of Social Sciences in informing the eligible beneficiaries through SMS about the food grains, their rates and the time for distribution.