Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party (JKAP) senior leader and former minister Aijaz Ahmad Khan on Thursday welcomed the Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement regarding the free ration scheme that has been extended till the end of November.
In a statement, Khan demanded that the Gujjar and Bakerwal community besides landless and economically downtrodden sections of the society who are yet to be covered under economic survey should be allowed to avail the benefits of Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) because of the prevailing pandemic.
The JKAP leader observed that the extension in the free ration scheme will benefit a huge population across the country including Jammu and Kashmir. “This timely and humanitarian initiative taken by the government of India assumes more significance because the necessary lockdown in view of the COVID pandemic has created huge difficulties especially for the economically weaker sections of the country,” Khan added.
The JKAP leader remarked that most of the Gujjar and Bakerwal families along with livestock remain in the constant migratory process from one place to another in search of food and shelter. “Thousands of families belonging to scheduled tribes besides landless farmers have either been left out of the economic survey conducted by the government for the free ration scheme or are still without the requisite ration cards to get benefited from this historic policy,” he observed.
He stressed on the universalization of the public distribution system so that the genuine families who are not in the economic survey or do not possess the requisite ration cards receive the free grains under the centrally sponsored scheme.
“People including nomadic communities as well and migrant labourers who are temporarily settled in J&K and do not have a ration card or even Aadhaar card should be made eligible for free dry ration in view of the prevailing pandemic situation,” Khan remarked.
He demanded an immediate survey of the families belonging to Gujjar and Bakarwal and communities who have migrated to highland pastures along with their livestock so that they are included in the priority households to avail the free ration. “Similarly the left out landless farmers and families belonging to economically weaker sections be included in this survey.”
Khan said that a self-declaration system by the beneficiary underlying his need for free ration can be started by the J&K government to percolate down the benefits of centrally sponsored free ration scheme to rural and far off places in border districts of J&K.