The scope and budget of cheap ration schemes rose since Independence but the effect it should have had on the poor remained limited due to ineffective delivery systems and selfish elements, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Tuesday.
Over the years, food storage kept increasing, but starvation and malnutrition did not decrease in that ratio, Modi said, after a virtual interaction with the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PM-GKAY) beneficiaries in Gujarat.
The PM-GKAY food security scheme is helping lakhs of poor people during the coronavirus pandemic, Modi said.
Free ration is being distributed to lakhs of families under the scheme and it has helped lessen the worries of poor during the pandemic, he said.
Modi said the government used new technology to make the food grain delivery system to the poor more effective.
"After independence, almost every government had talked about providing cheap food to the poor. The scope and budget of cheap ration schemes increased year after year, but the effect it should have had remained limited. The country's food reserves increased, but hunger and malnutrition did not decrease in that proportion," he said.
"Some sickness came into the system, some selfish elements entered. To change this situation, after 2014, work started in a new way, and help of new technology was taken to remove crores of fake beneficiaries and link ration cards with Aadhaar card and encourage digital technology in government fair price shops," he said.
Modi said empowerment of the poor is a top priority of his government. "Today, the country is spending lakhs of crores on infrastructure, but at the same time, it is also setting new benchmarks to improve the quality of life of the common man, he said.
The government is making efforts to provide all possible help to citizens during the pandemic, he said.
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