An Indian ration shop, faulty distribution! [Picture source]
The ubiquitous tucked-away ration shops can look forward to get some facelift. Nothing decorative, though there’s no harm if that happens as a bargain. The idea is to allow more items to be made available at ration shops so as to turn the tide of mall-going shoppers in their favor.
What’s in pipeline? Well, the plan is to allow these shops to sell cooking gas cylinder, railway tickets (not clear if that’ll be reservations only), postage stamps, mobile refilling cards, and if feasible even life-saving drugs.
One may wonder what’s on! As we know, ration shops have long back turned into provision stores, selling soaps and detergents in addition to regular fares like rice, wheat and dal. However, people, especially the middle-class, have turned their back to ration shops mainly because supplies are erratic, and choices limited.
Specifically these are the advantages that the large malls enjoy, plus they offer air-conditioned comfort and low prices, all enticing to splurge into buying. Which is why the ration shops are more frequented by people from lower strata, whom even the local provision stores do not favor, because their buys are often no more than say 200 grams of sugar or 100 grams of mustard oil or suchlike.
Given that and in spite of presence in every nook and corner of our vast country, the ration shops are no big gainers. This the PM now plans to change. He is said to be interested in overhauling the mass-distribution system of food-grains to the ration shops. Seems this is one of the ways suggested to him to arrest spiraling of inflation.
If indeed ration shops do start dealing in at least selling of railway tickets and postage stamps, that is bound to attract people. Once people start flocking in, won’t they also buy other items as well? Sure they will, and that is what PM has promised to the team of All India Fair Price Shop Dealers Federation, headed by Sitaram Yechury in his meeting with them on March 10. [Collated from ABP, March 11]