How Bihar CM ensures food for everybody amidst the Covid crisis
Immediately after the Covid crisis surfaced in India, Nitish Kumar made focused efforts to ensure that no one, especially the poor and the most vulnerable, suffered distress.
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With Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar determined to expand his government’s relief net and add more beneficiaries to it, the state Food and Consumer Protection Department has issued 23.39 lakh new ration cards. This will add another 1 crore state residents to the list of beneficiaries. They are now entitled to the government’s assured food grain programme.
These 23.39 lakh ration cards — each catering to one family — are in addition to the already existing 1.41 crore ration cards in Bihar. Adding the two, Bihar now has more than 1.64 crore families covered under the food security. Given Bihar’s standard of 4.5 persons per family, Chief Minister Kumar’s move has ensured that more than 7.39 crore people of Bihar will have sufficient food to survive the difficult times of Covid-19, which has dried up many conventional sources of employment. These 7.39 crore people account for more than 60 per cent of the state's population. They are now entitled to 5 kg of food grains (per person per family) at a highly subsidised rate of rice at Rs 3 per kg and wheat at Rs 2 per Kg along with a kg of pulse without any cost. Better still, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi has extended his free ration scheme till the end of November, the beneficiaries from Bihar, including the newly added ones, will get an additional 5 kilograms of grains (wheat or rice) per person, free of charge.
Immediately after the Covid crisis surfaced in India, Kumar made focused efforts to ensure that no one, especially the poor and the most vulnerable, suffered distress. Accordingly, the State Food Department worked in a mission mode to identify and issue new ration cards. Unlike usual times when people approach the government for such a facility, the Chief Minister ordered the government to conduct a house-to-house survey and reach out to the people in need of help. The highlight of Kumar’s relief efforts has been his focus on broad-basing the government support to cover both the urban poor and vulnerable rural family demographic. Bihar Food and Consumer Protection Secretary Vinay Kumar told Mail Today that the government is willing to issue more ration cards to eligible persons. The ration card relief to the poor is in addition to the Rs 8,538 crore support package with which the Kumar government has already responded to support the poor to mitigate the economic havoc wrought by the coronavirus.
(Courtesy of Mail Today)