BJP’s promise of free rice, dal despite 32% cut in PDS budget allocation

Shillong, Feb 15: The BJP manifesto for Meghalaya is for the state’s empowerment, which is spelled with a capital ‘M’ that means ‘Modi for Meghalaya’, said the party’s national general secretary JP Nadda while releasing the document in the city on Tuesday.

However, there remained a dichotomy between the party’s promises in the state and its action at the Centre. While the BJP’s manifesto promises free rice, wheat and dal to all eligible PDS beneficiaries, the Union Budget 2023-24, which was presented on February 1, slashed allocation to PDS by 32%. The allocation in 2023-24 is Rs 1,97,350 crore as against Rs 2,06,831 crore in the previous fiscal year.


When pointed out, BJP’s national secretary Rituraj Sinha said, “Everything we have committed in this manifesto has gone through elaborate assessment, both from the policy implementation and funding standpoints. We are not in frivolous politics like TMC, which has been promising cards of all sorts.”

Earlier, BJP’s national general secretary JP Nadda released the election manifesto. While Nadda left without addressing the media after the programme, Sinha took the questions.

Nadda addressed a public meeting in Jhalupara on February 14 where he spoke about the BJP government’s commitment to providing free ration every month. A few supporters attending the meeting, however, said while they were getting free rice, dal and wheat were unavailable.

“We are not getting atta, dal, oil and sugar for a long time. We have spoken to the fair price shop but with no result,” said Atmaram Giri of Jhalupara.

The BJP’s manifesto also promises to introduce a special fund of Rs 100 crore to support non-profit institutions of indigenous communities in Meghalaya.

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