"Non-cash social assistance and Rastra will be distributed this month," Maharani stated after a meeting with Vice President Kalla here on Tuesday.
Non-cash social assistance will be distributed to 1.4 million beneficiaries in 44 districts and cities. Meanwhile, Rastra will be offered to 14.3 million recipients across Indonesia.
During the meeting, she said the vice president had inquired about the delay in the distribution. The two forms of assistance should have been implemented in January 2017.
The government will channel non-cash social aid through debit cards to the beneficiaries. The debit cards can be used to buy rice and other essential food items from partner stores.
Meanwhile, Deputy to the Vice President for Human Development and Equitable Development Policy Support Bambang Widianto stated that the government had cooperated with four state-owned banks to distribute non-cash social aid. The four state-owned banks are Bank Mandiri, Bank Negara Indonesia, Bank Rakyat Indonesia, and Bank Tabungan Negara.
"We are aiming to distribute non-cash social aid in big cities that have a good network and system in place," the senior minister stated.
Social Affairs Minister Khofifah Indar Parawansa had earlier expressed hope that the Rastra recipients would no longer receive inferior-quality rice.
"We hope that poor-quality rice would no longer be distributed to the Rastra programs recipients. In the past, inferior-quality rice was provided to the programs recipients," the minister remarked while witnessing the distribution of Rastra assistance by the state logistics board (Bulog) in Takengon, Central Aceh, on Saturday.
She revealed that Bulog has also continued to make improvements, so that the Rastra provided to the financially weak people is fit for consumption.
The government is providing 15 kilograms of medium-quality Rastra for each of the recipient families.
Khofifah said the distribution of rice assistance this year was started from Takengon.
The minister has called on the district heads and mayors to accelerate the issuance of the letter of distribution order for Bulog to channel the assistance. It was expected that the distribution would have been completed by the third week of January.
The minister emphasized that the regional heads should speed up the distribution of rice assistance based on the presidents directives to accelerate all development programs, including social assistance and subsidy.(*)