The central government has decided to extend the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) till Diwali, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on June 7.
"Till November, free food grains will be available in fixed quantity every month to more than 80 crore countrymen," Modi said while addressing the nation on the COVID-19 pandemic situation.
He added, "In this time of the pandemic, the government is standing by the poor with every need, as their partner."
About 1.3 lakh tonne of wheat and rice have been provided to 2.6 crore beneficiaries so far in June under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana, Food Secretary Sudhanshu Pandey said at a media briefing on June 3.
The food subsidy incurred for PMGKAY, so far, is more than Rs 9,200 crore for May and June 2021, he was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.
Giving specific about the implementation of the free ration scheme, he said, more than 63.67 lakh tonne foodgrains (around 80 percent of total PMGKAY allocation for May and June 2021) have been lifted by states and UTs from FCI (Food Corporation of India) depot.
Under the PMGKAY, the Centre was earlier distributing free foodgrains for two months (May-June 2021). The free ration scheme has now been extended till November.
The government is providing 5kg per person per month to approximately 79.39 crore beneficiaries covered under the National Food Security Act (NFSA). Nearly 80 lakh tonne foodgrains have to be issued under the PMGKAY scheme. This distribution is over and above the regular allocation to beneficiaries under the food law.
"Around 28 lakh tonne foodgrains have been distributed by 34 States/UTs to around 55 crore NFSA beneficiaries for May 2021 and around 1.3 Lakh MT foodgrains have been distributed to around 2.6 Crore NFSA beneficiaries for June 2021, after following due COVID protocols," Pandey was quoted as saying.
(With text inputs from PTI)
(Edited by: By Kanishka Sarkar)
First Published: IST