Uncertainty prevail over free food grain distribution among pink card holders

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Alappuzha: Kerala government is facing uncertainty over distributing free food grains to the priority households (Pink card holders) in the state.

The state had been receiving rice for Rs 3 a kilogram and wheat for Rs 2 per kilogram from the Centre for priority households. However, the state government distributed rice and wheat free to pink card holders via ration stores. But now, the state government has started to distribute food grains at Rs 2 citing handling expenses in order to dispense wages to the ration store workers.

The Centre has declared that the 35 kilogram free food grains will be distributed by merging the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) with the Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY). With this, the state will have to stop charging Rs 2 for food grains as handling expenses from the pink card holders.

The pink cards of the priority households do not belong to the AAY category. In addition to this, the ration for the pink card holders are distributed according to the number of beneficiaries under each card. Currently, 5 kg of rice is being distributed for each person. Hence, the inclusion of pink card holders into the revised free food grains programme of the Centre will increase the financial burden of the state government. Doubts persist over dispensing 35 kilograms of food grains for the households with a lesser number of beneficiaries.

At least 5.88 lakh households are under AAY category and 35 lakh card holders are under priority category in Kerala.

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