Puducherry, which initiated the implementation of the direct benefit transfer (DBT) scheme in the Public Distribution System (PDS) along with Chandigarh last year, on Friday asked the food ministry to revise the rate at which money is transferred to beneficiaries’ account in lieu of rice.
Puducherry chief minister V Narayanasamy urged food minister Ram Vilas Paswan to revise the existing rate of R24.05 per kg of rice to R25.17 per kg for DBT beneficiaries, keeping in mind the entitlement under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) and prevailing market prices. Since the food ministry initiated DBT in Puducherry in September last year, 6.15 lakh people covered under NFSA have been getting R120.25 per head per month in place of 5 kg of rice entitled under the food security legislation.
“Puducherry has demanded increase in rice subsidy given under DBT taking into account the new minimum support price. We have already worked out the subsidy amount and will be notified soon,” Paswan said. After revisions of rates, each beneficiary would get R125.85 per head per month under the food security Act in Puducherry.
At present, Rs 8.45 crore is transferred to beneficiaries’ bank accounts monthly in Puducherry under DBT, for the implementation of the national food security legislation.
Under DBT, instead of subsidised grain, the identified beneficiaries will get cash transferred to their accounts, allowing them to purchase grain from any shop.
“Retail price of rice is ruling around R28 per kg. We have requested the Centre to increase the rice subsidy given via DBT. The Centre has assured it will be done,” Narayanasamy said.
Besides Puducherry, Chandigarh and parts of Dadra & Nagar Haveli have been implementing DBT in PDS on a pilot basis. Close to 9 lakh beneficiaries are getting R11.28 crore monthly in place of 5 kg each of rice or wheat, as envisaged under the food security legislation.