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Rice cardholders’ allocation to be doubled

Move follows Centre’s plan to step up entitlement

The Tamil Nadu government has decided to give an enhanced entitlement of foodgrains to all rice-drawing ration cardholders in June and July.

The decision follows the Centre’s initiative to double the entitlement of foodgrains to the priority household (PHH) cards for two months.

No discrimination

There are about 2.07 crore rice-drawing cards in the State, of which around 1.08 crore come under the category of PHH cards. The Centre’s scheme of concession leaves out the remaining 99 lakh non-priority household (NPHH) cards. This forces the State government to ensure that there is no discrimination against the NPHH cardholders, while seeking to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 lockdown.

For providing the additional entitlement, the State will procure about 1.53 lakh tonnes of foodgrains a month from the Food Corporation of India at ₹22.5 a kg. This entails an additional commitment of around ₹688 crore, which has been sanctioned by the government through an order of the Cooperation, Food and Consumer Protection Department issued last week.

Under the Centre’s scheme, the additional foodgrains are to be given to PHH cardholders in May and June.

Consequently, over and above the normal quota, the Centre has allotted to Tamil Nadu about 3.65 lakh tonnes of foodgrains, including nearly 36,470 tonnes of wheat.

But the distribution of additional foodgrains could not begin in the State this month for several reasons, including the assumption of office by a new Council of Ministers in the first week of May.

As of now, there is no word whether the State will also provide one kg of sugar and tur dal each, and one kg of edible oil, all free, for a few months, as it did last year.

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