Modi Government Extends Free Ration Scheme Till March’22

Story Highlights
  • PM-GKAY scheme was initiated in the wake of the nationwide lockdowns last year.
  • The govt provides of 5 kg food grain (wheat or rice) per person free of cost.
  • The scheme covers more than 80 crore people listed under the NFSA.

New Delhi: The Union Cabinet on Wednesday has decided to extend the ‘PM Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana’ to provide free ration till March 2022, said Union Minister Anurag Thakur during a press briefing. Last year, the government had announced PM-GKAY for all beneficiaries covered by the National Food Security Act (NFSA) in the wake of economic disruptions caused by the Covid-19 outbreak. The scheme was slated to end on November 30th. Under this scheme, the government provides 5 kg of food grains free of cost to around 80 crores of NFSA beneficiaries.

The food grain under Phase V would entail an estimated food subsidy of Rs 53344.52 crore, said the department of Food and Public Distribution. The total outgo of food grains in Phase V is expected to be 163 lakh metric tonnes. Phase-I and Phase-II of this scheme were operational from April to June 2020 and July to November 2020 respectively. Phase-II of the scheme was operational from May to June 2021. Phase-IV of the scheme is currently operational for July-November 2021 months. The distribution under PMGKAY-IV is presently ongoing.

The government has been giving rice and wheat to bulk consumers under the OMSS policy to improve availability in the domestic market and check prices. Anurag Thakur said the cabinet has also completed the formalities to repeal the 3 farm laws. This is probably the world’s largest food security programme at a cost of Rs 2.6 lakh crores. PM Modi has ensured that 80 crore people get 5 kgs of food grain, either rice or wheat, free of charge for almost 19 months, Union Minister Piyush Goyal said.

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