LAHORE The Punjab Government is evaluating the option of reintroducing ration cards scheme for the poor segment of the society, sources informed The Nation on Monday. The Punjab Chief Minister has constituted eight member committee headed by Secretary Food Irfan Elahi with the direction to submit proposals/recommendations for relaunching ration cards scheme after detailed deliberations and studying the procedure adopted in developing countries. The committee comprising MNA from Sheikhupura Rana Afzaal Hussain, MPA from Faisalabad Rana Afzal, MPA from Kasur Sheikh Allauddin, Chairman Planning and Development Board, Secretary Food, Secretary Finance and representatives from civil society namely Amjad Saqib and Ali Cheema will hold meeting on Wednesday (tomorrow) to evaluate various options relating to the launch of ration cards scheme in the province. According to the sources, the Punjab CM constituted the committee on the proposal floated by MNA Rana Afzaal Hussain during a recent meeting. During the last year, the same regime considered the option of launching ration cards scheme but later the idea was dropped. Conceptually, a wartime-approach-ration stamps or card is a booklet issued by a government allowing the holder to obtain certain rations. The cards are used to provide goods to the poor sections of the society at highly subsidised prices. Secondly, this is not for the first time that this scheme is being initiated here, as earlier it was done prior to the Ayub Khans era when sugar crisis made the government to issue ration booklets to the people. This continued till the fag end of the Zia regime, when it was closed down. According to sources, the top bosses of the province believe that if the ration card scheme is being successfully run in 11 states of India and some parts of Bangladesh, then the same could be done here. It is perceived that the same formula will be applied here as well. Referring to the benefits of the scheme, the stakeholders suggested that the poor would directly benefit from the subsidy given by the government on various kitchen items. Under the present arrangements, even filthy rich can purchase subsidised items from Sunday Bazars. They further suggested the think tank to ensure that maximum kitchen items including edible oil, pulses, flour, sugar and rice are provided to the ration card holders. Moreover, they stressed upon the need of ensuring transparency in the process of registration of poor families for the issuing of ration cards. They further suggested that instead of establishing own depots, the government should identify shops in specified localities to provide subsidised ration to card holders. However, it is being believed that it will further burden the administration to make the scheme successful, whereas another class of both beneficiaries and the downtrodden will be created, and both will be asking the government for more favours. Secondly, this will initiate yet another era of tall claims and media pep-cum-campaign, which will be further eroding the already-shrinking public exchequer. Thirdly, the scheme will be highly politicised one because 'little leaders will definitely try to benefit from the scheme. This list is endless considering the fact that at the moment, the most corrupt is the mafia involved in the edibles business. The government must come up with substantial long-term scheme instead of indulging in short-term gains and publicity gimmicks because failure of any such idea brings bad name to the government ultimately, averred an officer who is a strong believer of the futility of any such idea.