The finance and food supply minister of the state announced that they aim to be the first Indian state to distribute pulses to valid ration card holders at INR 1 per kilo, all-year round and not just for the festive season.
In what has been a conscious mission to encourage farmers in the state to cultivate more pulses as well as a way of providing essential food items to its citizens, Jharkhand’s finance and food supply minister announced that the government was working towards supplying pulses at the cost of INR 1 per kilo to its citizens for the whole year, and not just during festive season. Relevant for valid ration card holders where the pulses will be distributed this month onwards, the minister – Rameshwar Oraon – also divulged that a sum of 550 crores have been allotted for distribution purposes, benefitting almost 65 lakh ration card holders.
This scheme launched on a pilot basis in three districts – namely Ranchi, Lohardaga and Dumka – on the 24th Statehood Day of Jharkhand, which happens to fall on the 15th of November, plans to cover all beneficiaries under the National Food Security Act, once the scheme was approved by the state cabinet in August. Since the state has seen a rising number of cases dealing with malnutrition, activists have demanded the supply of pulses in order to bulk up the protein content in the diet of those who are underprivileged. Where the current food security scheme sells 35 kilos of food grains for the same cost as the free pulses to over nine lakh families, the priority household scheme also covers 2.28 crore people who can avail 5 kilos of food grains each, for subsidised prices.
Since 2014, the state government has been working closely with the department of agriculture to encourage and increase the production of pulses across Jharkhand due to its low-maintenance, huge-commercial potential for Indian markets. Since the launch of the National Food Security Mission, the state has seen a significant improvement in the crop yield due to the schemes and support provided to the farmers – ranking 7th in the production of toor dal and 8th for producing urad dal – as per reports from 2016.