In a bid to ensure timely and safe distribution of both subsidised and free foodgrains to the poor, the Centre on Sunday asked state governments to allow ration shops to remain open for a longer duration on all days.
This was ordered by the Union Food Ministry citing that timings of ration shops or fair price shops (FPS) were curtailed due to COVID-19 induced lockdown.
It said that the intended beneficiaries might not be getting adequate time to lift their entitled 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.
Under the National Food Security Act (NFSA), the Centre is distributing highly monthly subsidised foodgrains of 5 kg per person at Rs 1-3 per kg via ration shops to over 80 crore poor families.
The ministry, in its advisory, has asked states to keep the ration shops open for distribution of foodgrains under the NFSA as well as PMGKAY scheme in a staggered manner throughout the day, keeping in mind all COVID-19 safety protocols as well as social distancing.
In order to facilitate the same, states have been requested to ensure that ration shops are exempted from the restricted timings as foodgrains comes under essential items.