Raipur: Ration is being distributed to 73.27 lakh families in Chhattisgarh under Universal PDS to all ration card holders as per their eligibility. About 64.15 lakh underprivileged families are being provided free of cost rice in the state including 21.61 lakh ST families, more than 10.22 lakh SC families and 34.78 lakh OBC families, and 6.65 lakh families belonging to the general category. At present, 14.49 lakh Antyodaya, 38, 386 destitute, 49.15 lakh priority, 14,000 Divyang, and 9.10 lakh APL ration card holders are getting ration through 13,415 government fair price shops being operated across the state.
Food Secretary Topeshwar Verma said that work is being done to start model government fair-price shops in all the districts of Chhattisgarh. Instructions have been given to start preparations in this regard. Apart from the sale of other consumer goods along with ration, the facility of banking correspondent, etc. will also be provided in the model fair price shops. Aadhaar seeding has been done in ration cards. In a bid to make the operation of fair price shops more economically profitable, preparations are being made to implement new schemes in fair price shops as suggested by India Post Payment Bank, Telecom Department, Oil Companies, and Civil Supplies Corporation.
Food officials said that under the public distribution system, 10 kg of rice per month is being provided to single-member priority ration card holders, 20 kg per month to two-member priority ration card holders, 35 kg per month to 3 to 5-member ration card holders and rice is being given to more than 5 member priority ration card holder at the rate of 7 kg per member. Similarly, Antyodaya ration card holders are being given 35 kg of rice per month. In addition, 1 kg of sugar is also being given at a nominal price of only Rs 17. In scheduled areas, 2 kg iodized salt per family and 1 kg iodized salt in non-scheduled areas is being given free of cost.
Fortified rice distribution to be started from April
In a bid to eradicate malnutrition and anemia among women and children in Chhattisgarh, an important decision has been taken in the cabinet meeting held under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel to start the distribution of fortified rice in all districts of the state. Fortified rice will be distributed from April 2023 to ration card holders through fair-price shops. Ration card holders of Priority, Antyodaya, Single Destitute, and Divyang categories will get fortified rice in place of the normal rice being given at present.
Meanwhile, the distribution of fortified rice has been started in the Kondagaon district in November 2020 as a pilot project to ensure food security as well as nutritional security under universal PDS and to remove anemia and other nutritional deficiencies. At present, fortified rice is being distributed in all the districts of the state under the Mid-Day Meal Scheme and ‘Purak Poshan Ahar Yojana’. Apart from this, fortified rice is also being distributed in 10 aspirational districts including Korba, Rajnandgaon, Mahasamund, Kanker, Narayanpur, Dantewada, Bijapur, Bastar, Kondagaon, and Sukma, and 02 high burden districts including Kabirdham and Raigarh under the public distribution system.
Meanwhile, fortified rice is highly nutritious and healthy. It is rich in iron, folic acid, and vitamin B-12. Nutrients such as iron, folic acid, and vitamin B-12 present in the rice help prevent anemia in adults and children and facilitate blood formation and proper functioning of the nervous system.