The Central Government has made an important decision in favour of the poor and needy population of our country by extending the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) to November 2021. As per latest reports, nearly 80 crore individuals will be distributed free rations till Deepawali to support their livelihood during the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a major announcement on Monday, the Prime Minister has declared that the free ration scheme has been extended. Under this scheme, individuals covered under the National Food Security Act, 2013 (NFSA) will be distributed free wheat and rice grains of 5 kg per person per month.
Earlier, in a bid to support the population that have lost their livelihoods during the pandemic, or otherwise covered under the NFSA, the central government announced the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana scheme to be implemented during the months of May and June 2021. The decision was taken in view of the second wave of the pandemic that is still ongoing in the country.
As per latest reports, approximately 80 crore individuals who are beneficiaries under the NFSA categories of Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) and Priority Householders (PHH). The declared ration of essential food grains is in addition to their usual monthly entitlements under NFSA, says latest media reports.
The Prime Minister was quoted saying in the Monday announcements – “Today, the government has decided to extend PMGKAY till Deepawali. During the pandemic, the government is standing with the poor. Till November, a fixed quantity of free foodgrains will be made available to more than 80 crore people”.
The Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana – I was announced earlier in 2020 during April – June 2020. Similarly, the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana II was announced in July – November 2020. Under these schemes, reportedly more than 100 LMT of wheat grains and more than 200 LMT of rice grains were distributed through a nodal agency the Food Corporation of India (FCI). A total of more than 300 LMT of food grains were reportedly supplied to state and UT governments under the scheme earlier.
As per reports, huge capital has already been allocated by the central government in facilitating the benefits covered under the scheme. For example, during the recent implementation of the scheme for the months of May-June 2021, an estimated exchequer was more than twenty-five thousand crore Indian rupees. The extension of the scheme till November 2021 will definitely add to the costs now, latest reports have stated.