- The beneficiaries will get the subsidy amount in advance in their bank accounts.
- They will have to buy the subsidy foodgrains from any ration shop, which has got the electronic point of sale devices.
- This initiative will ensure zero leakage of the subsidy and foodgrain.
Food ministry is working on a pilot to emulate the direct cooking gas subsidy transfer scheme model for public distribution system (PDS) of subsidised foodgrains.
The beneficiaries will get the subsidy amount in advance in their bank accounts and they will have to buy the foodgrains from any ration shop, which has got the electronic point of sale (e-PoS) devices. The food ministry recently sent three trainee IAS officers (assistants) to assess the ground situation in Ranchi where a pilot is likely to be rolled out.
This initiative will ensure zero leakage of the subsidy and foodgrain as well. A government source said the beneficiaries’ failure to buy the foodgrains from the e-PoS enabled ration shop would result in no transfer of the subsidy for the next month. This will also ensure that beneficiaries under National Food Security Act don’t use the subsidy amount for anything else.
“In case of cooking gas subsidy, the consumer has a connection from a particular LPG supplier and government transfers the subsidy through the supplier concerned. But in case of PDS, this mechanism is not possible. Therefore, the provision is being made that the beneficiary buys the foodgrains from ration shops and e-POS will ensure the authenticity,” said a source.At present, 81 crore identified beneficiaries get subsidised foodgrains at Rs 1-3 per kg from ration shops. This costs the exchequer about Rs 1.4 lakh crore annually.
The other provision of direct cash transfer for subsidised foodgrains is being implemented in only three Union Territories of Chandigarh, Puducherry and Dadra & Nagar Haveli. In these cases, the entire subsidy amount is transferred to the beneficiaries’ account and they are free to buy the grains from anywhere.The new model is under serious consideration as an alternative to the nationwide roll-out of DBT, which, would throw up several questions for the government on whether it can continue to procure grains at MSP when it will have no mechanism to release them.