The Chhattisgarh government has launched a plan to implement its core public distribution system (PDS) — Meri Marzi — in all 27 district headquarters within the next year-and-a-half.
Launched in state capital Raipur, the scheme is in line with the portability principle in PDS. The beneficiary can collect food grain from any shop.
The Bharatiya Janata Party government in Chhattisgarh seems to be in a hurry to implement its own food security scheme even as the Centre mulls amendment to the one introduced by the United Progressive Alliance.
Chief Minister Raman Singh told Business Standard, “The government has already covered 6.5 million families under the first phase of the food security scheme, where the government distributes 35 kg rice at Rs 1, 2 kg salt for free and also chana (chickpea) to the Tribal population.
“In the second phase, the government intends to cover urban areas. The Meri Marzi scheme allow the beneficiary the facility to draw money anywhere, just like an automated teller machine (ATM). They can procure food from any shop. The details of rations supplied to every beneficiary is made available online, to ensure transparency in the working of fair price shops.”
The chief minister said the food security scheme does not only provide sustenance but also nutrition. The government’s annual outgo on the scheme was Rs 2,000 crore. The scheme was being implemented in Raipur since July, 2012. Since November, 2012, 69 shops in Durg had also been brought under it, and from December that year, 17 shops in Mahasamund city, and 43 in the eponymous block were under it since January 2013.
Soon, Bhilai, Jagdalpur, Dhamtari, Bilaspur, Raigarh, Korba, Ambikapur and Chirmiri would also benefit from the scheme.