New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Saturday launched the Smart Ration Card scheme to cover 1.41 crore beneficiaries across the state. Singh also announced a separate state-funded scheme to provide subsidised rations to 9 lakh beneficiaries, who are not covered under the National Food Security Act (NFSA).

With this, the total number of beneficiaries in the state will go up to 1.50 crore, the Chief Minister announced while rolling out the Smart Card Scheme under which 37.5 lakh cards will be distributed to the eligible beneficiaries this month.

Announcing the latest scheme, Captain Amarinder Singh, as reported by news agency PTI said, “The Centre had capped the maximum number of beneficiaries to 1.41 crore and despite repeated requests, had not agreed to provide subsidised rations to the deserving 9 lakh people not covered under the NFSA. Our government had therefore decided to cover all such left out eligible persons under a state-funded scheme, details of which will be announced shortly”.

The Smart Ration Card scheme will help curb corruption and give freedom to the beneficiaries to buy from any depot, the chief minister said, adding that ‘it would end the exploitation of beneficiaries by unscrupulous ration depot holders’.

The chief minister also handed over the smart ration cards to four beneficiaries at the Punjab Secretariat. All his MLAs and ministers will hand over the Smart Ration Cards to other beneficiaries in their respective districts and areas.

Earlier, state Food minister Bharat Bhushan Ashu said the state government had weeded out ghost beneficiaries and undeserving people who were being provided subsidies by the erstwhile SAD-BJP regime at the cost of genuine beneficiaries, he added.

The Smart cards, said Ashu, will enable the beneficiaries to take ration from any shop, thus ending the monopoly of the ration depots.

Bio-metrics of the cardholder will be matched with the data stored in a chip on the smart ration card to prevent any fraudulent transfer of food grains, he said, adding that ‘One card will suffice for the entire family’. 

 

(With PTI Inputs)

Posted By: Talib Khan