Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has reversed Karnataka Minister for Food and Public Distribution, UT Khader’s plan to modify the Anna Bhagya scheme of distributing cash coupons instead of subsidised ration.
The Chief Minister told media persons that he had received numerous complaints from citizens, who had also demanded that the government continue with the previous scheme of providing ration instead of cash coupons.
“No one should go hungry in the state. Cash coupons will not be given. Citizens will get food coupons only. I have directed UT Khader to cancel the scheme, which was piloted in three districts,” the CM said.
Another announcement made was that BPL cardholders can now apply for food coupons online.
“The food coupons can be availed online, besides being distributed at PDS centres. BPL card holders can request for these coupons on the government website and the coupons will be made available within 15 days,” the CM said.
The CM also said that pulses will be sold at half price at Public Distribution System centres.
In December 2016, the Karnataka government had announced that the Anna Bhagya scheme would be modified. It had planned to introduce the system of distributing cash coupons instead of foodgrains at ration shops in the state.
UT Khader had said on December 22, that foodgrains required for Anna Bhagya scheme are being supplied by the North Indian states and that there were complaints regarding the quality of foodgrains being supplied under the scheme.
The ministry had announced that the project would be piloted from January 2017.
Under the new scheme, the home maker had to obtain a cash coupon instead of food coupon to avail the foodgrains. The scheme made it mandatory for BPL card holders to register their bio-metric details with the ministry and based on the amount deposited in the citizens’ accounts, they could get foodgrains from the privately-owned grocery stores.
The ministry had also said that the food and civil supply department would select private provision stores to accept the cash coupons and distribute quality foodgrains according to the choice and preference of the beneficiary to ensure the quality of the commodities.
The government had fixed the coupon rate at Rs 800 for a five-member family.