Govt to provide free food to 800 million in May, June under PM Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana
The Centre said on Friday the government will provide 5 kilogram of free food grains to millions of poor covered under the National Food Security Act, 2013, “due to economic disruptions caused by the Covid-19 outbreak in the country” for the months of May and June under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana.
This will be “over and above NFSA foodgrains for next two months i.e. May and June 2021 on the same pattern as the earlier “Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PM-GKAY)”, it added. “Under this special scheme (PMGKAY), around 80 Crore NFSA beneficiaries covered under both categories of NFSA, namely Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) and Priority Householders (PHH), will be provided with an additional quota of free-of-cost foodgrains (Rice/Wheat) at a scale of 5 Kg per person per month, over and above their regular monthly entitlements under NFSA. Government of India will bear all expenditure of over ₹26,000 Crore on account of food subsidy and Central assistance to states/UTs on account of intrastate transportation etc,” it added.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi stressed that it is important that the poor of the country have nutritional support when the country is facing the second wave of coronavirus pandemic.
The free food grains distribution scheme under the Prime Minister Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana was extended in June for five months till November 2020 with an additional estimated outlay of ₹90,000 crore. The extension of the scheme was announced by the Prime Minister last year when the country was entering the ‘unlock’ phase from the nationwide lockdown imposed to curtail the spread of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) and to support the poor affected by the halt in the economic activities.
The scheme has been rolled out again for the next two months as the country’s healthcare infrastructure has reached its capacity and several states have taken steps like complete lockdown, night curfew to contain the spread of the disease. The scheme comes as such measures affecting the economic activities of the country and the pandemic will cause a huge burden on the poor of the country.
India on Friday reported 332,730 cases of coronavirus disease in the last 24 hours—the highest since the pandemic broke last year—taking the tally to over 16.2 million.