Link food subsidy to UID smart card: Plan panel
The Planning Commission has asked the government to insert a provision in the proposed Food Security Bill, in which subsidy for the Below Poverty Line (BPL) population should be linked to UID-based smart card system.
At a recent meeting on reforming the Public Distribution System (PDS), the Commission observed that â€œthe subsidy be provided via a smart card linked to the Unique Identification (UID) system, which would credit the subsidy amount to the shopkeeperâ€.
â€œThe Food Security Bill must allow this option, even though it may not be implementable everywhere at one go,â€ Plan panel sources said.
The Plan panel further suggested that while the BPL population must be provided grain at Rs 3 a kg, the Above Poverty Line (APL) segment should pay a higher Minimum Support Price (MSP) linked rate.
The Commission favoured that besides grain and wheat, the BPL segment should be enabled to use their proposed smart cards to purchase other edible items like milk, sugar, eggs and pulses.
It asked the states to not only be a provider of food security but also ensure choice in the food basket for the poor.
â€œThe smart card need not be linked to a particular Fair Price Shop (FPS). It can be used in any FPS giving the customer the benefit of choice,â€ the Plan panel observed.
It also reasoned that the government should switch over to a system where PDS shops receive and sell grain from the Food Corporation of India at a price linked to MSP. â€œElimination of flow of subsidised grain from the PDS system will eliminate incentives for diversion and leakage, which is currently rampant. This would be a major PDS reform,â€ the Planning Commission inferred.
According to sources, currently 10.86 crore families hold BPL cards, with each family drawing 25 kg foodgrains per month, which entails a subsidy of about Rs 28,890.56 crore.
The government is now of the view that the recommendation of Suresh Tendulkar Committee â€”pegging the number of BPL population at 8.1 crore â€” should be treated as the final count.
Food security on UID cards
* Planning Commission has asked the government to insert a provision in the proposed Food Security Bill, in which subsidy for the BPL population should be linked to UID-based smart card system
* The Plan panel has also said that while the BPL population must be provided grain at Rs 3 a kg, the APL population should pay at Minimum Support Price-linked rate
* The panel said the BPL segment should also be enabled to use smart cards to purchase other edible items
Source:- Indian Express