Free ration to 800 million people till Diwali, announces PM Modi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in this address to the nation on Monday that the Centre’s free food programme will be extended for five months till November. “Today the government has decided that the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) will now be extended till Diwali. In this time of pandemic, the government is standing with the poor in their every need as their partner. That is, free food grains will be available in fixed quantity every month to more than 80 crore countrymen till November,” PM Modi said in this address.
More than 800 million beneficiaries will get an additional 5kg of wheat or rice per person free during July and November 2021. The the food ministry said that during April-November 2020 32.2 million tonnes of food grains were allocated under an earlier phase of PMGKAY, while 29.8 million tonnes were distributed, which is 93% of the allocation. These recipients are also covered under the National Food Security Act, 2013 (NFSA) and therefore also receive subsidised food on a monthly basis.
Chief ministers of several states, including Uttar Pradesh’s Yogi Adityanath and Madhya Pradesh’ Shivraj Singh Chouhan, said Prime Minister Modi’s announcement will help the poor during the coronavirus pandemic.
“Today, under the guidance of the respected Prime Minister, the decision of the central government to carry forward the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana till Deepawali fulfills the mantra 'Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas, Sabka Vishwas'. Heartfelt gratitude to the Prime Minister on behalf of all the beneficiaries of Uttar Pradesh,” Adityanath tweeted in Hindi.
“No poor citizen will sleep hungry in this country, even under these tough circumstances. Showing sensitivity under the leadership of @narendramodiJi, the central government has extended the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana till Diwali. This decision is commendable,” Chouhan also posted on Twitter.
According to official data, the Food Corporation of India has distributed 4.8 million tonnes of cereals under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) during the pandemic. As many as 31 states and Union Territories have utilised 100% of their quota under the free-food programme for the month of May, according to the figures. Arunachal Pradesh, Lakshadweep, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Puducherry have withdrawn that for June as well.
The Centre resumed the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) on April 24 for the third time since 2020 during the pandemic,