After Odisha and Tripura, West Bengal has now opposed the Centre's direct cash transfer to bank accounts of beneficiaries, claiming it would lead to a breakdown of the existing public distribution system and closure of the Food Corporation of India.
"The basic objective of the public distribution system to arrest hunger among the poor will be defeated if the beneficiaries are provided cash instead of cheap food leading to closure of the Food Corporation of India," Minister for Food and Supplies Jyotipriya Mullick said.
He said that the purpose of setting up the FCI -- to provide cereals and pulses at subsidised rates to the people -- would be defeated since beneficiaries could use the cash for other purposes than food.
"The decision is wrong. FCI will close down if the cash transfer scheme is implemented," he said.
Noting that only 24 per cent of the population in the state has Aadhar cards, he said, "How can it be possible when a large number of people in West Bengal do not have Aadhar cards?"
Earlier, Odisha Food Minister P K Deb had dubbed the step as impractical, saying many people in his state did not have bank accounts.
Tripura Food and Civil Supply minister Manik De had said that he had written to the Food and Public Distribution Minister K V Thomas to withdraw the proposal and clarify how the new system would help the poor.