New Delhi: Union Food and Public Distribution Minister Ram Vilas Paswan on Monday said all students living in the hostels where two-third belong to SC, ST and OBC communities will be entitled to 15 kg of foodgrain per month at subsidised rates.
The Welfare Institutions and Hostels Scheme, which will be rolled out at the earliest, will benefit over one crore students including girls from Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribe, Other Backward Classes and backwards from minorities, he said.
The moves comes against the backdrop of recent political controversy over "dilution" of SC/ST Atrocities Act and incidences of atrocities against them besides upcoming elections in the major states this year.
"It is a historic step. Under the scheme, students from these communities, where their strength is two third of the total number of hostel students, will be given 15 kg food grain. If the rice is priced at Rs 30 per kg in open market, the students will get it for Rs 6," Paswan told reporters here.
The type of foodgrain may vary from state to state as per the nutritional requirement of the respective residents.
"We have asked the states to send us the list of beneficiaries as soon as possible. Also, the states will have to decide the type of foodgrain to be distributed. The Centre will bear all expenses on the subsidy."
He said 13 lakh tonnes of foodgrain was allotted under the scheme, which will be increased further.
Paswan also sought roll back of the Supreme Court's recent order "diluting" the stringent provisions of the Act besides reservation in promotion in the government jobs.