New Delhi:  Here is a good news for the BPL families getting ration through public distribution system (PDS). Going by the Central government’s proposed new ration scheme, now the families will be getting ration on the basis of the strength of the members in a family.

According to the report, under the provision, every individual of the family will get 7 kg ration every month and the quantity of foodgrains will be decided on the basis of the number of members mentioned on the ration card.

The new ration scheme is likely to benefit those BPL families having five or more members. Currently, every family gets 35 kg ration per month. The implementation of the new scheme would account for a marked increased in the distribution of foodgrains.

The recommendation for such amendment in the scheme has been forwarded by a panel of Chief Ministers constituted on the direction of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Headed by Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahuluwalia, the panel also has Chhattisgarh CM Raman Singh and Assam CM Tarun Gogoi on its member list.

According to the 1993-94 estimates of Planning Commission, the Centre provides ration on subsidised rates to 6.52 crore poor families every month. However, the strength of BPL families in all states is much higher at 11 crore.

In this connection, the committee has paid attention to the grievances of the states. On this basis, the panel in its recommendations has stated that following the division of poor families into nuclear ones, the strength of BPL families are multiplying, which has been overlooked by the Centre.

Among the suggestions given on measures to be taken to improve the ration scheme, the importance of pending Food Safety Bill has been underlined to ensure the availability of foodgrains at subsidised rates to every BPL family through ration shops.

In the Food Safety Bill, the government would provide guarantee of food safety instead of guarantee for subsidized foodgrain.

Under the proposed ration scheme, provision of smart cards to poor families will be made instead of ration cards. The amount of subsidy on food items will be mentioned in this smart card through which the person would be able to buy wheat, rice, egg, meat and pulses from wholesale shops.

JPN/Bureau