The Centre is all set to roll out direct benefit transfers (DBT) under the Public Distribution System (PDS) in three Union territories — Puducherry, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, and Chandigarh from September 1, where instead of foodgrains being sold at subsidised prices, the subsidy component would be credited to beneficiaries’ bank accounts each month.
Food ministry sources told FE that the Centre would transfer subsidies to beneficiaries’ bank accounts under National Food Security Act entitlements, at the determined rate of Rs 22 per kg for rice and Rs 16 per kg for wheat each month for 5 kg of grain.
In Chandigarh, more than 41,000 families would get the benefit of cash transfer in place of foodgrains under PDS.
The pilot DBT initiative by the food ministry, in collaboration with the UTs, would also cover 88,000 families in Puducherry and 26,000 families in Dadra and Nagar Haveli.
Sources said all the three Union territories have already completed ration card digitalisation and are close to completing its seeding with Aadhaar. “As long as the beneficiary has a bank account, we are not insisting on Aadhaar seeding,” an official said. Meanwhile, Puducherry has decided to continue with the existing PDS shops, as besides wheat and rice, other commodities are provided to beneficiaries under PDS.