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“Ration shops should open for a longer duration and on all days amid curfew” ; Centre

New Delhi: On Sunday, the Centre urged the state governments to retain ration shops, also named fair price shops, open for a more prolonged-term and on all days to assure the appropriate and secure distribution of both subsidized and free foodgrains to the needy. An announcement in this concern has been declared by the Union Food Ministry following representations that while the current lockdown in some states/UTs, ration shops’ timings have been reduced due to which the expected recipients might not be receiving enough time to raise their allowed foodgrains.

“In view of ongoing lockdown in some States/UTs, that may curtail the functioning hours of Fair Price Shop (FPS), an advisory has been issued on 15th May 2021…to keep the FPSs open, preferably on all days of the month,” the ministry said in a statement. The Centre is giving highly monthly subsidized foodgrains of 5 kg per person at Rs 1-3 per kg through ration shops to over 80 crores poor under the National Food Security Act (NFSA). Over and above this, an additional 5kg of free grains are being given to the related beneficiaries under the PMGKAY (Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana) scheme for two months, May-June to decrease economic difficulties being encountered by the NFSA beneficiaries during the second surge of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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In the announcement, the Centre has demanded states to retain the ration shops open for distribution of foodgrains under the NFSA as well as PMGKAY project in a swayed way throughout the day, keeping proper social distancing and adhering to all COVID-19 rules, it said. To promote this, states have been asked to assure that FPSs are spared from the restrained hours of opening of regular markets as foodgrains are included under essential things, it added. Moreover, the Centre has urged states to take significant steps for the appropriate distribution of foodgrains at their FPSs without creating difficulties for the recipients and to provide extensive publicity to the steps initiated in this concern.

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