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Centre offers subsidised foodgrains for SC/ST/OBC/women hostelers at BPL rates


New Delhi, Union Food and Civil Supplies Minister Ram Vilas Paswan on Thursday said the Centre had sought from state government their requirement of foodgrains for providing Rs 15 kilogram each to Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribe, Other Backward Class and women residents of hostels to ensure standards of nutrition. This shall be over and above the regular quota of foodgrains under Other Welfare Schemes provided under the National Food Security Act. Addressing a press conference after a meeting with State Food Secretaries on the issue, Mr Paswan said the government had revamped its scheme for additional allocation of foodgrains to meet the requirements of welfare institutions such as beggar homes, nari-niketans and other similar welfare institutions sponsored by State Governments/UT Administrations, that are not covered under Targeted Public Distribution System or any other Welfare Scheme. Foodgrains for such welfare measures shall be distributed at Below Poverty Line (BPL) population rates which is Rs 5.65 per kilogram for rice and Rs 4.15 per kg for wheat. The Minister said hostels with at least two-third of the resident students belonging to SC/ST/OBC community were eligible to get subsidised foodgrains for all the resident students, including those who belong to other categories. The scale of issue of wheat and rice (ratio to be decided on the basis of food habits in different areas) will be as per the nutrition requirement of the residents, subject to a maximum of 15 kg per resident per month. On the occasion, the Minister released a handbook of 'Handbook for Implementation of Cash Transfer of Food Subsidy' jointly developed by Department of Food and Public Distribution (DoFPD) and World Food Programme (WFP). The handbook is a step by step guide for implementation of cash transfer of food subsidy scheme and is based on India's rules, regulations and experience in cash transfers of food subsidy, and WFP's global experience in cash based transfer. Mr Paswan highlighted the reform measures implemented by the government to check leakages and diversions of foodgrains in the "in-kind" distribution of food grains, through end-to-end computerisation of PDS operations by installation of ePoS devices at fair price shops for biometric authentication of beneficiaries and electronic capturing of transactions. Currently, Cash Transfer of Food Subsidy is being implemented in union territories of Chandigarh, Puducherry and urban areas of Dadra and Nagar Haveli.

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