The All India Fair Price Shop Dealers Association has announced an indefinite nationwide strike set to begin on 2 January 2024.
The key objective behind this move is to press for an increase in the commission rates allocated to ration shop owners.
As reported by Indian Express, in a letter addressed to West Bengal State Food and Supplies Minister, the association wrote, “since the implementation of the National Food Security Act across the country, 50 per cent of urban and 25 per cent of rural people have been out of the ambit of ration distribution. On one hand, the public distribution system has shrunk, and on the other the livelihood of ration dealers’ is in danger.”
The impending strike is expected to impact nearly 5.5 lakh fair price shops across the country, with approximately 20,000 establishments in West Bengal.
The association estimates that the strike will lead to the closure of around 4.5 lakh ration shops.
At the forefront of their demands is a call for an increase in commission rates to ensure a minimum monthly income of Rs 50,000 for fair price shop owners.
Biswambhar Basu, the National General Secretary of the All India Fair Price Shop Dealers Association, has urged the central government to consider the commission hike, emphasising the need for financial support amid these challenging circumstances.
Additionally, the association is urging the government to implement the recommendations of the World Food Programme without shifting responsibilities to state governments.
One of the key demands includes providing a grant to cover handling losses, and the association has raised concerns about discrepancies in monthly balances between e-PoS and state government portals.
Basu highlighted that despite efforts by several state governments to increase commissions, West Bengal has maintained a rate of Rs 95.
The association asserts that until the government addresses their demands, they will be unable to serve customers effectively.
Nayan Dwivedi is Staff Writer at Swarajya.
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