Free Grains Reach to Only 2.14 Crore Migrants Across India, No Beneficiaries in Goa, Telangana

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The government distributed free foodgrains to 2.14 crore migrant labourers with no ration cards in May and June, but none have been covered in Goa and Telangana, the Union Food Ministry said on Wednesday.

While two states Goa and Telangana did not distribute free grains for both the months, six states and union territories, namely Bihar, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Sikkim and Ladakh, did not distribute the grains in June, the ministry's data showed.

The Narendra Modi government had announced free foodgrains for an estimated 8 crore migrant workers, with neither central or state ration cards, for two months at a cost of Rs 3,500 crore. They were allotted 5 kg of foodgrains per person and 1 kg of chana dal per family for two months.

"So far, free foodgrains have been distributed to 2.14 crore migrant workers so far across the country. This number is not static," Food Secretary Sudhanshu Pandey said in a digital press conference.

"Some states have lifted fully, some have not as migrants have moved to home state, while some have taken more than their allocation because migrant labourers were many in those states," he said.

In fact, six to seven states including Goa and Telangana have written to the Centre informing that they won't be able to implement the scheme as migrant labourers have moved out of their states, he added.

As per the ministry's data, 80 per cent of the total foodgrains allocation of 8 lakh tonnes were lifted fully by 28 states/UTs. The other eight states/UTs lifted partially.

However, these states managed to distribute only 1,07,031 tonnes in two months so far.

As per the ministry's data, 60,810 tonnes of free grains were distributed to 1.21 crore migrant workers in the month of May against the target of 8 crore people, while 46,221 tonnes were distributed to 92.44 lakh migrants in June.

In May, free grains were distributed maximum in Rajasthan to 42.47 lakh beneficiaries, followed Maharashtra (15.36 lakh), Karnataka (12.31 lakh), Assam (9.19 lakh), West Bengal (9.17 lakh), Tamil Nadu (4.66 lakh), Haryana (4.52), Punjab (4.44 lakh), Uttar Pradesh (4.39) and Bihar (3.68 lakh).

In the month of June, maximum migrant workers were covered in Rajasthan at 42.47 lakh, followed by West Bengal (9.17 lakh), Haryana (8.40 lakh), Karnataka (8.16 lakh), Assam (7.11 lakh), Punjab (4.44 lakh), Delhi (2.73 lakh), Uttar Pradesh (2.25 lakh), Himachal Pradesh (1.57 lakh) and Jammu and Kashmir (1.44 lakh).

The secretary said the distribution of free grains was less than one per cent of the total allocation in 12 states, while it was zero in states like Goa and Telangana. The distribution was lagging in states such as Sikkim, Uttarakhand, Odisha, Puducherry, Kerala among others.

He, however, did not elaborate the reasons for poor distribution of grains under the scheme. The states have been asked to submit the beneficiaries list by July 15.