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Right to food? PM's decision fails to answer, where will those without ration cards go

By Our Representative
The Right to Food Campaign (RtFC), even as wecoming Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to extend the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana for five months, has regretted, “No policies have been announced for those without ration cards or those who are additionally included by state governments through state schemes.”
Under the scheme, all persons having a ‘priority’ or Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) ration card under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) will receive additional five kgs of grain per person and each household with a ration card will get 1 kg chana for free.
Calling it a “much needed measure” to help the 80-crore people listed under NFSA in coping with the economic distress amidst Covid-19 crisis, RtFC in a statement said, “Most often it is the most marginalised who are left out of the public distribution system (PDS) due to not possessing necessary documents to acquire a ration card.” It noted, “Most migrant workers do not possess ration cards.”
Also rueing that the Atmanirbhar package which included free rations for an additional eight crore people for two months has not been extended, RtFC said, “At a time like this, when foodgrain stocks are at a record high and people are facing the real possibility of hunger and starvation, the government should have universalised PDS and ensured that anyone in need of ration would be provided with it irrespective of whether they possessed a ration card.”
As for the One Nation One Ration Card (ONOC) scheme, RtFC said, it is slated to be rolled out completely only by March 2021”, adding, “Even if ONOC were available across the country, it would not solve the problem of access to foodgrains for those who are excluded from the PDS entirely.”

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