Though critics might say that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has extended the free foodgrain distribution programme with the upcoming Bihar elections in mind, the state is a laggard when it comes to distribution of grain and pulses under the scheme.
West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, and Bihar all performed unsatisfactorily in implementing the scheme, under which 5 kg of grains and 1 kg of pulses are distributed free of cost to ration cardholders for the months of April, May and June. Modi extended the scheme for another five months on Tuesday.
Data available till June 30 show that Bihar distributed around 72 per cent of grain it lifted in the three months — 91 per cent of April’s quota, 88 per cent of May, and, just 37 per cent of June’s quota.
In the case of pulses, Bihar has distributed 82 per cent of April’s quota, 31 per cent of May, and hasn’t distributed anything from June’s quota.
Data show that Bihar is entitled to distribute 50,655 tonnes of pulses in the three months at 16,885 tonnes per month.
The PM Garib Kalyan Ann Yojana scheme was aimed at helping poor families cope with the lockdown. On Tuesday, Modi extended this for another five months.
In Madhya Pradesh, data till June 30 show, around 68 per cent of the three months’ allocation has been distributed. This includes 74 per cent of April’s quota, 83 per cent of May, and just 48 per cent of June’s quota.
In the case of free pulses, MP has distributed 64 per cent of April’s quota, 48 per cent of May, and, very little of June’s quota. The state is entitled to distribute 35,000 tonnes of pulses at 11,686 tonnes per month and has received a little over 16,000 tonnes of pulses and distributed 15,475 tonnes so far.
In the case of West Bengal, the state has distributed 59 per cent of its quota of grains till June 30. Of its quota of pulses, the state has distributed just 87 per cent of April’s quota and nothing since. It has received almost 28,000 tonnes of free pulses out of its quota of 44,000 tonnes.