Kathmandu, March 20 Almost eight years have passed, but the government’s plan to provide ration cards to people with low income from 2010 itself has not been executed yet. The then Ministry of Supply had decided to start distributing ration cards to facilitate poor people with subsidised essentials through different government-owned enterprises. Many governments have been formed since 2010, but none of them have been able to implement the ration card system in the country. The Ministry of Supply, under the leadership of minister Ganesh Man Pun, had decided to form a technical committee to study the prospects, challenges and implementation mechanism of the ration card system in July 2016. However, Pun’s plans and decisions could not be executed properly along with the change in the government and leadership at the Ministry of Supply. Anil Kumar Thakur, secretary at the Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies (MoICS), said that the process to introduce ration card system in Nepal has been stuck due to lack of required policies and laws that could address the ration card distribution system. “Necessary policy formation and priority by the current government’s leadership alone can materialise the plan to introduce ration card system in the country,” said Thakur. The government, in 2016, had also announced its plan to allow Nepal Food Corporation, Salt Trading Corporation and National Trading Ltd to open subsidised shops across the country where poor people could use their ration cards and get essential goods at subsidised rates. The government had also planned to issue such ration cards to people identified as ‘poor’ by the Ministry of Cooperative and Poverty Alleviation (MoPA). Meanwhile, the government has not made any progress in introducing the ration card system though MoPA has already identified the ‘poor’ in 25 districts and started distribution of ‘poor identity card’. Madhav Timalsina, president of Consumers’ Right Investigation Forum, urged the government to introduce the ration card system as soon as possible as the system will protect poor people/consumers from the spikes in market prices.
Ration card distribution still in limbo
Published: 09:28 am Mar 21, 2018