Karnataka: Only 50,000 benefited from Atmanirbhar scheme in July | Bengaluru News – Times of India

BENGALURU: Barely a month after Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched Atmanirbhar Bharat scheme, aimed to ensure migrant workers do not go hungry, the demand for rations under the scheme has fallen in Karnataka.
Under the scheme, every migrant with an Aadhar card could receive a one-time dole of rations for two months. The scheme initially received strong response from migrant workers, many of whom were stranded in Karnataka with neither jobs nor savings.
As per government records, more than 10 lakh migrants were provided free rice and channa (whole gram) for June. However, by the end of July, the numbers had plummeted to about 50,000 beneficiaries, a small fraction of the 80 lakh migrant workers estimated to have been in the state prior to the lockdown.
While on the one hand those figures suggest a huge chunk of the labour force moved out of Karnataka, on the other hand the state claims there is still a considerable number of migrants who reside in Bengaluru and other parts of the state, but are ineligible for rations under the scheme since, under the Centre’s directive, a migrant worker, who does not have a ration card, is applicable to receive rations only once under the scheme.
State records show each of the 10 lakh migrants in June, and another 3.2 lakh people in May, received 10kg of rice and 2kg of channa. These people cannot seek rations again.
“In my constituency of Mahalakshmi Layout alone, there are 41,000 beneficiaries. However, there are many people who would need another round of assistance to survive till economic activity pick up,” said K Gopalaiah, food and civil supplies minister.
The minister did admit lakhs of migrants had left Karnataka due to lockdowns and loss of work, but many more remain in the hope of securing employment. Officials believe that if the ANBP scheme is extended again to first-time beneficiaries, 6 to 7 lakh migrants will benefit.
In fact, the state has written to the Centre to allow Karnataka to open another round of distribution under ANBP. Besides Karnataka, Rajasthan is said to be the only other state with a widespread distribution of ANBP rations.
“Even last month we had a video conference where the Centre categorically said the scheme has been extended in terms of time, but not for the same people. We are hoping, with lockdowns ending, the numbers will increase,” said Shamala Iqbal, commissioner food and civil supplies department. The government has also asked the Centre to extend the scheme till November for all migrants.

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Sagar Biswas

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