When the Corona crisis forced the country to go for the lockdown back in March, the first thing that the Central government did was to ensure food on the plate of the poor through Public Distribution System.
Did the initiative achieve the objective? Has any part of the administration failed to fulfil this basic need of the poor? Finding answer to these two questions will makes things clear about who sought solutions and who continued to be part of the problem.
Two Reports Tell the Story
One report from the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution says that nearly 60.7 lakh new beneficiaries were added under NFSA by states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar during the COVID-19 period. While Uttar Pradesh issued 45 lakh new ration card after March 2020, Bihar issued 15 lakh new ration cards for the same period. Tripura, Manipur, J&K have also issued new ration cards.
This shows how keenly some states pursued efforts to help the poor using the food grain supply from the Union government, especially at a time when people were facing uncertainty.
But it also warrants a check of another set of reports. This month-old report shed light on the fact that some states failed to ensure food on the plate of poor though the Centre made all the arrangements with the supply. Check this headline.
In the instances of Punjab the Centre reportedly sought reports from the state government.
Quoting a beneficiary, The Indian Express reported, “since schools closed from March 23, she remembers receiving the Midday Meal ration just once (2-kg rice and 2-kg wheat) and cooking cost (₹200) that was credited into bank accounts of her two granddaughters. After that, neither the ration nor cooking cost reached the family.”
Here, one can’t help but remember Rahul Gandhi. Ever since the Corona crisis struck, he has been counting on all sorts of doomsday predictions and perceived problems. Here you have a Congress-ruled state which seemingly failed in the basic work of putting food on the plates of poor.
Long-back, when Rahul Gandhi was criticising the Union government on Corona, someone from the press had asked him about the situation in Maharashtra where Congress is supporting the government. For that, Rahul Gandhi replied that Congress is just a partner and not ruling with a majority. He can’t use that argument in Punjab as far as providing ration under the PDS scheme is concerned.
The Union government, on the other hand, not only put the food on the plate of the poor section but also helped other sections with various initiatives.
So, one can clearly find out the difference between those who simply criticize and the one who deliver.