The Atta dal scheme by Punjab government was launched as per the election manifesto of SAD in 2007 pools. There are currently 1.42 crore beneficiaries of the scheme and it has been a major helpline for the poor BPL families of Punjab.
Launched in 2007 by the Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal in the first term of SAD-BJP alliance, ‘Atta-dal scheme’ has been a beneficiary to many in the state of Punjab. The scheme provides currently more than 1.42 crore people with Atta and Dal (Pulses) at a subsidised rate.
The Akalis in their election manifesto before 2007 declared that if in power they would provide atta-dal at a subsidised rate. Keeping their promise when they came to power the Akali and BJP government declared to provide wheat instead of flour at a rate of Re. 1 per kg and pulses at Rs. 20 per kg.
In 2013, the same government renewed this scheme of theirs and decided to add more families into the beneficiaries list. The BPL and AAY (Antodiya) ration card holders were also be eligible for the new scheme. Under the new scheme the government decided to double the number of people who would benefit from the scheme. Currently about 1.42 crore people enjoy the benefits of the scheme.
People who own less than 2.5 acres of land and have income of less than 60,000 per annum are the one who benefit from the scheme. All 100 yard plot holders in the urban areas are also eligible for atta-dal scheme. Pensioners with less than Rs. 60,000 pension are also eligible for the blue cards.
In the infant stage of this scheme the income limit for the people who would benefit from the scheme was 30,000. This was later on raised to 60,000 and hence the scheme was termed as game changer for SAD-BJP government in the 2012 polls.
After the 2013 announcement to launch the New Atta dal scheme 13.5 lakh new beneficiary families were added to the list of beneficiaries. The number of families in the scheme has scaled up in three surveys done from 2007-2012. The surveys are carried out by the department of panchayat and health. Rs. 28 crore annually was the estimated cost of updating the benefactors list for the scheme.
The ‘New Atta Dal scheme’ as launched by the government of Punjab under the Akali and BJP alliance is merged with the National Food Security act.
The scheme provides every family with 5 members with 2.5 Kg pulses. We can also account it as 500 gram per family member. As estimated by the department of food supplies 3.6 lakh tonnes of wheat is required under the scheme for 15.8 lakh families. As per the requirement only 1 lakh tonne is procured by the state, the rest 2.6 lakh tonne is received from the above poverty line families.
The cost to running the scheme has been estimated as Rs. 350 crore of which Rs. 150 crore is spent on acquiring atta and the rest is on purchasing pulses. The government after the updating of rates gives wheat at Rs 5 per Kg and pulses for Rs. 20 per kg. Every family is eligible for a maximum of 20 kg dal and 25kg wheat.