Largest Ration Subsidy During Corona Lockdown

While India has been put under lockdown for 21 days, the Central Government approved the food distribution subsidy scheme that will benefit 80 crore Indians, the largest ration subsidy scheme to date. FM Nirmala Sitharaman also announced a relief package of ₹1.7 lakh crores to help the underprivileged people of the country survive the Coronavirus pandemic.
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Crux of the Matter

Largest Ration Subsidy
Amid the ongoing health crisis and lockdown across the whole nation due to COVID-19, Union Cabinet Minister Prakash Javadekar addressed a press conference and informed that the government has decided to reduce the price of Wheat from ₹27/kg to ₹2/kg and Rice from ₹32/kg to ₹3/kg under the subsidy scheme for next three months.

It is estimated that around 80 crore beneficiaries will be benefited by introducing a subsidy in the Public Distribution System (PDS). Each person will get 7 kg of food grains per month. Every state has been notified to collect grains from the Center in advance to distribute among the public, the minister said.

States Join the Effort
Meanwhile, different states have also declared relief packages to meet the specific regional and necessary demands of the public. The Delhi government has made shelters with food facilities to accommodate homeless people. CM Arvind Kejriwal also said that the Delhi government is in the process of introducing a relief package to provide free-ration and double pension to 72 lakh people whose jobs are affected by COVID-19 lockdown.

Punjab‘s CM Amarinder Singh has approved ₹20 crore relief packages for free food distribution and medical facilities in the state. In Haryana, families below the poverty line will get free ration from the state government from April, said CM Mahnor Lal Khattar. Kerala government has promised to provide every citizen of the state, irrespective of their economic condition, with a full supply of ration. Further, the state is also under process to build up fast track restaurants which will provide a meal at ₹20. The government of Tamil Nadu said that it will provide ₹1000 to all ration cardholders along with free rice, sugar and other essential commodities.


Public Distribution System (PDS) – The central and state governments share the responsibility of regulating the PDS. While the central government is responsible for procurement, storage, transportation, and bulk allocation of food grains, state governments hold the responsibility for distributing the same to the consumers through the established network of fair price shops (FPSs). State governments are also responsible for operational responsibilities including allocation and identification of families below the poverty line, issue of ration cards, and supervision and monitoring the functioning of FPSs.

Under the PDS scheme, each family below the poverty line is eligible for 35 kg of rice or wheat every month, while a household above the poverty line is entitled to 15 kg of foodgrain on a monthly basis. A below poverty line card holder should be given 35 kg of food grain and the card holder above the poverty line should be given 15 kg of food grain as per the norms of PDS. However, there are concerns about the efficiency of the distribution process. A public distribution shop, also known as fair price shop (FPS), is a part of India’s public system established by the Government of India which distributes rations at a subsidized price to the poor. Locally these are known as ration shops and public distribution shops, and chiefly sell wheat, rice and sugar at a price lower than the market price called Issue Price. Other essential commodities may also be sold. To buy items one must have a ration card. These shops are operated throughout the country by joint assistance of central and state government. The items from these shops are much cheaper but are of average quality. Ration shops are now present in most localities, villages towns and cities. India has more than 5.5 lakh (0.55 million) shops, constituting the largest distribution network in the world. More Info