By Our Staff Reporter
Dehradun, 15 Jun: Food & Civil Supplies Minister Rekha Arya today informed the House during the ongoing Budget Session of the Uttarakhand Assembly that the process of issuing digital ration cards to the people is underway in the state. So far, over 12 lakh digital ration cards have been issued and the process completed by July end. Rekha Arya was responding to a starred question from Preetam Singh Panwar on the second day of the assembly session. Rekha Arya said that the work on digitising ration cards in the state was started in June 2020, but because of the first wave of Corona in that year and the second in the year 2021, the process was delayed. Minister Rekha Arya said that, at present, the process of making digital ration cards is underway and, by the end of next month, digital ration cards would be distributed to every eligible person in the entire state.
The Minister said that, at present, the work on printing convenient ration cards is going and the work of data modification and PDF generation of cards is going on. So far, 13,46,632 new ration cards had been received after printing for all the districts till 30 May 2022, out of which 12.58 lakh cards had already been distributed to the ration card holders.
In response to another question, Rekha Arya informed the House about the Antyodaya national food security scheme.
Transport Minister Chandan Ramdas informed the House that, since its formation as a transport corporation separate from Uttar Pradesh Transport Corporation, Uttarakhand Transport Corporation (UTC) had suffered a cumulative revenue loss of Rs 595.12 crores, till now. The minister was responding to a starred question asked by Pritam Singh of Congress during Question Hour. He reminded that that UTC had been set up on 31 October, 2003, and had since then accumulated revenue losses of over Rs 595 crores so far. In response to a supplementary question, the minister said that the government is trying to help the transport corporation get out of the red by way of grants and compensation against losses. He said that the government has paid the salaries of the employees, extended a loan on interest to the corporation for purchase of new buses, besides compensating the UTC for operating free travel services, compensation against losses on operating bus services on hill routes and losses due to Covid-19 and salaries to the employees during the Covid period.
To improve the financial situation of the UTC, the government has taken steps such as commercialisation of UTC properties, operating buses on CNG to bring down the operational cost, by inviting advertisements on buses and by operating courier services. In addition, efforts are being made to cut down operational costs through modernisation and ensuring greater efficiency. In response to a starred question by Dr Mohan Singh Bisht, Minister Ramdas stated that the government had a plan to run electrically operated vehicles not only to cut down the operational costs but also to control the environmental pollution being caused by diesel vehicles.
In response to a starred question by Khajan Das of BJP, Social Welfare Minister Chandan Ramdas informed the House that all eligible old men and women, differently-abled, widows and as well as abandoned women are being paid pensions under various schemes by the government. He responded to a supplementary question that an order had been issued by the government that required signatures and recommendations of the local municipal councillor in urban areas in order to get the pension but added that the purpose of this requirement is basically verification of the beneficiaries. In response to a related question, Ramdas admitted that due to strict eligibility norms, many needy persons remained deprived of pensions under various schemes and said that the relaxation in the norms would depend on availability of budget and future plans towards modification of the norms.