Khadya Sathi going full steam ahead – adds 16 lakh more beneficiaries

The Bengal Government has decided to bring 16 lakh more beneficiaries under the Khadya Sathi Scheme, under which rice is made available rice at Rs 2 per kg per month.

Under the scheme, run by the Food and Supplies Department, these 16 lakh people would get 5 kg of rice each every month. So, for example, if a family has five members, it would get 25 kg of rice per month.

The 16 lakh new beneficiaries are from within the BPL category.

The State Government will now be spending Rs 4,500 crore for the entire scheme now.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had initiated the Khadya Sathi food security scheme to provide rice and wheat at Rs 2 per kg to around seven crore people, which is almost 90 per cent of the State’s population. It had initially aimed to ensure that 70 lakh people in the State get food and cereals at half the market price while over seven crore people get 5 kg of food grain every month at Rs 2 per kg.

Now, the State is trying to extend the benefits of this scheme to more and more people.


খাদ্য সাথী প্রকল্পে উপকৃত হবেন আরও ১৬ লক্ষ মানুষ

রাজ্য সরকারের খাদ্য সাথী প্রকল্পে আরও ১৬ লক্ষ মানুষ পেতে চলেছেন ২ টাকা কিলো দরে চাল।

খাদ্য সরবরাহ দপ্তর পরিকল্পনা নিয়েছেন এই প্রকল্পের আওতায় অন্তর্ভুক্ত প্রতি পরিবারের প্রত্যেক সদস্যকে মাসে ৫ কিলো করে চাল দেওয়ার। তারা অর্থ দপ্তরে নথিপত্র ইতিমধ্যেই পাঠিয়ে দিয়েছে খাদ্য সাথী প্রকল্পে এই নতুন অন্তর্ভুক্তি সংক্রান্ত।

অর্থ দপ্তরও তাদের সম্মতি জানিয়েছে এই কাজের জন্য প্রয়োজনীয় অর্থ প্রদানের। এই প্রকল্পের জন্য রাজ্য সরকারের খরচ হবে ৪,৫০০ কোটি টাকা। এই প্রকল্প শুরুর আগেই খাদ্য সরবরাহ দপ্তর সব জেলার জেলা শাসকদের এই প্রকল্পের অন্তর্ভুক্ত মানুষদের তালিকা তৈরির নির্দেশ দিয়েছিল।

ক্ষমতায় আসার পরেই মুখ্যমন্ত্রী মমতা বন্দ্যোপাধ্যায় খাদ্য ও সরবরাহ দপ্তরকে নির্দেশ দেন রাজ্যের ৭ কোটি মানুষকে ২ টাকা কিলো দরে চাল ও গম সরবরাহ করার।খাদ্য সাথী প্রকল্প পেয়েছে অভূতপূর্ব সাফল্য পেয়েছে।

মমতা বন্দ্যোপাধ্যায়ের সরকারের আমলে জনবন্টন পদ্ধতি পেয়েছে এক নতুন মাত্রা। এই মুহূর্তে রাজ্যের প্রায় ৯০ শতাংশ মানুষ এই প্রকল্পের আওতায় অন্তর্ভুক্ত। এবার রাজ্য পদক্ষেপ নিয়েছে আরও ১৬ লক্ষ মানুষকে এই প্রকল্পের আওতায় নিয়ে আসার।

খাদ্য সরবরাহ দপ্তরের এক উচ্চ আধিকারিকের বক্তব্য অনুযায়ী, এই নতুন প্রকল্প এ বছরের মে মাস থেকেই শুরু হওয়ার কথা। ১৬ লক্ষ রেশন কার্ড প্রাপকরা এই প্রকল্পে উপকৃত হবেন। এই মুহূর্তে দপ্তরের কাছে নতুন প্রকল্পের জন্য পর্যাপ্ত চাল মজুদ আছে।





Food security made possible by the Mamata Banerjee Government

One of the first announcements Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee made after coming to power was “Food for all.” To put words into action, she began with Junglemahal. She announced that all Adivasi families living in the Junglemahal region would get the same benefits of ration (public distribution system or PDS) as those received by below poverty level (BPL) families.

This was followed by a more inclusive announcement – that all families whose annual income in 2011 was Rs 42,000 or less would get all the benefits given to BPL families.

In fact, the budgetary allocation on food supply during the first year of the Trinamool Congress Government, in 2011-12, took a leap of almost 25 times from the previous year’s (2010-11) allocation, which was the last year in power for the Left Front, of Rs 13,40,72,000.

Benefits more spread out

The Trinamool Government has extended the selling of rice at Rs 2 per kg through the PDS to the Cyclone Aila-affected blocks, Darjeeling hills region, the land acquisition-protesting farmers of Singur, the Sabar, Lodha and Toto tribal communities, the poor families in the seven backward blocks of Birbhum, and the almost one lakh workers and their families in the 27 closed tea gardens.

Much higher budgetary spending

During its last four years in power, the Left Front Government budgeted Rs 55,98,75,000, or Rs 13,99,68,750 per year on an average, for the Food & Supplies Department. Compared to this, the Trinamool Government overshot that amount by almost seven-and-a-half times to spend Rs 419,72,83,000, or Rs 104,93,20,750 per year on an average, during its first four years.

As a consequence of the much higher spending, the food supply scenario has also improved hugely. The budgetary allocations by the Trinamool Government have improved progressively year after year to come to Rs 202,00,00,000 for 2015-16.

Grain storage capacity has improved tremendously

The major consequence of the budgetary spending on the Food & Supplies Department increasing by almost seven-and-a-half times has been an almost 21 times increase in the grain storage capacity in West Bengal. Naturally, more and more grains are reaching the people of the State.

Ninety per cent of the almost Rs 420 crore allocated for the Food & Supplies Department during the first four years of the Trinamool Government has been spent on shoring up the grain storage capacity. The current capacity has come to 3,24,830 metric tonnes. The capacity during the last two years of the Left Front rule was a mere 7750 metric tonnes.

It can easily be concluded that the Left Front Government had no genuine intention to improve the food supply situation in the State. Whatever it spent was based more on political reasoning than on social-economic necessities.

Other achievements

  • Compared to the last two years of the Left Front rule, the current government is providing subsidised food grains through the PDS to 25% more people yearly, on an average.
  • Not just that, all the 3,21,00,000 recipients are receiving food at the same rate – that is, rice at Rs 2 per kg and flour (atta) at Rs 5 per 750 g – which was not the case during the Left Front rule.
  • During the last four years, the Trinamool Government has weeded out 1,35,18,287 fake ration cards, which is a very significant 15% of the number of cards issued till the end of the Left Front Government.
  • During the last four years, almost 88.56% of ration cards have been digitilised. As a result of digitalisation, card-holders can procure ration from an outlet in the West Bengal, and it also would not be possible to have fake cards made.
  • Under the Left Front Government, food grains had to be first brought to Food Corporation of India (FCI) godowns for storage and were distributed to ration shops from there. A lot of grains went bad due to improper storage conditions, and people often received grains of inedible quality. Now the Trinamool Government buys the grains directly from the farmers and stores them in its own godowns, which are much better. Hence, there is no wastage.
  • The rate at which the State Government buys from the farmers has also improved. During the last three years of the Left Front rule, the price had improved from Rs 900 per quintal to Rs 1000 per quintal, that is, by 11%. Comparably, during the first four years of the Trinamool rule, the procurement price has improved from Rs 1080 per quintal (in 2011-12) to Rs 1360 per quintal (in 2014-15), an improvement of almost 26%.
  • In February 2012, on the initiative of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, the Centre granted open general license (OGL) for exporting thicker grains of rice, which was till then limited only to rice of thin grains like basmati. As a result, farmers in West Bengal as well as in other States, earn much more.
  • In addition to the normal amount of food grains, the current State Government has allotted an additional 9.5 kg per month for 4,412 malnourished children spread over 17 districts.
  • Significantly too, the State Government wants 87% of the State’s population to be brought under the Centre’s Food Security Act, when the Centre wanted to bring only 67%.
  • Last but not the least, the Trinamool Government has improved the food grain procurement and distribution system despite obvious partiality from the Centre. Both the rate at which the Centre procures grains and the quality it procures is less for West Bengal in comparison to many other States.


Bengal Govt expands PDS, rolls out digitised ration cards

West Bengal under the leadership of Mamata Banerjee is giving highly subsidised food grains to more than 3 crore people. West Bengal Government intends to cover more than 6 crore people with subsidised food grains among the 9.13 crore population of the State.

The public distribution system has been thoroughly overhauled through massive e-Governance measures. Bar coded or quick response digital ration cards are being used to all eligible beneficiaries.  More than 7.8 crore ration cards have been digitised.

West Bengal Government has started distribution of such digital ration cards in Dakshin Dinajpur and other distribution will be started in other districts too.

She also posted about the exapansion of PDS on twitter:



Food for all: Bengal shows the way

West Bengal Government under the leadership of Chief Minister Ms Mamata Banerjee had laid focus on food security for all. Various steps have been taken by the Trinamool Government to provide food grains at the remotest corners of the State, especially to the financially backward classes, the distressed and the poor.

Here are some achievements of the West Bengal Government, since Trinamool took office in 2011 May:

Storage Capacity:

When Trinamool Government took office in May 2011, the storage capacity of the State was 40,000 MT.  In the span of 3.5 years, new storage capacity of 3.8 Lakh MT has been created with a cost of Rs 370 Crore.

The Government has set a target of 5.755 Lakh MT and the balance will be completed by the end of the Financial Year 2015-16.

Public Distribution System:

The Government has undertaken a project of digitisation of ration cards. Since May 2011, 7.8 Crore cards have been digitised, which is 82% of the population.  The Minister in Charge along with his officials have made surprise checks in the ration shops, which has helped in stopping the wide spread corruption which existed before May 2011.

More than 90 lakh fake ration cards have been identified and cancelled in the last 3.5 years, thus stopping the leakage in the PDS.

Food for all:

More than 3.2 Crore BPL listed people from Jangalmahal, Singur, closed tea gardens, Aila affected Sunderbans and few blocks of Birbhum are getting subsidised rice at Rs 2/kg and wheat at Rs 5 per packet of 750 gm.

More than 4 thousand Severely Acute Malnourished (SAM) children have been provided additional 9.5 kg of food grains per month, under nutritional support programme.

Procurement of food grains:

More than 1000 paddy procurement camps are put into operation. More than 4.5 lakh MT of paddy has been procured under the Minimum Support Price System.

In 2010-11, the rice farmers earned around Rs 19,095 Crore and since the time the new Government took office, there has been a steady rise of the income of the farmers. In 2013-14, rice farmers earned around Rs 34,366 Crore.



rice farmers


WB CM Bengal Global Summit

WB CM stresses on self-reliance in vegetable production

WB CM Ms Mamata Banerjee attended the ‘West Bengal Cold Storage Association’s Golden Jubilee Celebration’at Netaji Indoor Stadium today as Chief Guest. In her speech, while appreciating the initiatives taken by the Association towards helping in agricultural growth of the State, she stressed on the importance of being self reliant.

The Chief Minister highlighted that Bengal was among the frontrunners in horticulture and the State accounted for 16% of India’s vegetable production. She stressed upon self-reliance in terms of seed production, fisheries and egg production.

Highlights of her speech:

  • We have an old relationship. You stood by us during potato crisis. We have always assisted you.
  • We have to increase our capacity for seed production. We spend Rs 1500 crore for seed procurement.
  • We must utilise the opportunities we have. We have a huge market for eggs. There is a lot of scope in poultry and fisheries.
  • Like you keep potatoes in cold storage, you should build capacity for fishes also.
  • We are setting up cold storages in all blocks. We are setting up warehouses and Kisan Mandis under PPP.
  • Land for Kisan Mandis and cold storages have been identified.
  • We conduct meetings of the core committee for prices every fortnight.
  • It is easy to criticize. We believe in working for the benefit of grassroots.
  • The gap between demand and supply must be bridged.
  • 16% of the total vegetable production in India is from Bengal. We won Krishi Karman Award for 3 consecutive years.
  • We are against forcible acquisition of land. Agriculture is our pride. Industry is our future.
  • Why should West Bengal import vegetables from other States, even fish is imported. We have to be self-sufficient.
  • We started onion cultivation in dry areas of Bankura. We have got results. We are providing technical assistance to farmers.
  • We are among the frontrunners in horticulture in India.
  • Centre is not releasing funds for food procurement. They are not giving us funds for 100 Days’ Work.
  • Fertilizer prices are skyrocketing, Farmers are facing difficult times. We must stand beside them.
  • If we work together, there is big opportunity for big business. We have a PPP policy.