THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The state will supply free food kits to nearly 1.5 lakh migrant labourers as part of the Centre’s Atma Nirbhar Bharat programme. The civil supplies department has started preparations for the distribution through district labour offices. The Central government is bearing the total cost of `3,500 crore to supply food kits to eight crore migrant labourers across the country.
As part of the programme, the Food Corporation of India in May had granted 151 tonnes of rice to the state. The state civil supplies department plans to supply a food kit comprising 5kg of white rice and 1kg of black chickpeas. The department is awaiting the beneficiaries’ list from the labour department. Though Kerala has an estimated 40 lakh migrant labourers, less than six lakh labourers have registered themselves with the labour department. With many returning to their native places due to Covid-19, only around 1.5 lakh of the registered migrant labourers are left in the state, the labour department has informed the civil supplies department.
Labourers who are not covered under the National Food Security Act and state Public Distribution System (PDS) will only be eligible for the Atma Nirbhar Bharat programme. Ration card holders from 17 other Indian states are eligible to buy goods from PDS shops in the state under the ‘One nation, one ration card’ scheme. Meanwhile, the government has dropped the plan to prepare a buffer stock of food grains. Sources said it was planned when there was a fear of shortage of food grains owing to the Covid-19 lockdown. Now, the government has no such apprehension as the interstate movement of food items has become almost normal.