Free ration helping lakhs of poor amid Covid: Modi tells PM-GKAY beneficiaries
PM Narendra Modi said the scope and budget of cheap ration schemes rose since Independence, but the effect it should have had on the poor remained limited due to ineffective delivery systems.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Tuesday the government is making all effort to provide all possible help to citizens during the coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking with beneficiaries of Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PM-GKAY) in Gujarat via video conferencing, Modi said free ration is being distributed to lakhs of families under the scheme and it has helped lessen the worries of poor during pandemic. "I'm satisfied that your family's ration problem is solved now," he told a beneficiary.
An official release from the Prime Minister's Office said a public participation programme is being launched in Gujarat to create further awareness about the scheme.
The PM said since Independence, almost every government talked about providing cheap food to the poor. "The reach of cheap ration schemes and budget increased during these years, but the effect remained limited. Food storage kept increasing, but starvation and malnutrition did not decrease in that ratio," Modi said. One of the main reasons behind this was the lack of effective delivery system.
To change this situation afresh work was started after 2014. Crores of fake beneficiaries were removed from the system. Aadhaar was linked to ration card and digital technology was endorsed in government ration shops," he said, adding the new scheme ensures nobody sleeps on empty stomach even during the pandemic.
"Today, in addition to the quota of wheat at ₹2 per kg and rice at ₹3 per kg, 5 kg of wheat and rice is being given free to every beneficiary. This scheme is going to last till Diwali. In Gujarat, around 3.5 crore people are benefitting from this scheme," Modi said.
Modi said empowerment of the poor is a top priority of his government. "Today, the country is spending lakhs of crores on infrastructure, but at the same time, it is also setting new benchmarks to improve the quality of life of the common man,” he said.
The PM-GKAY is a food security welfare scheme that was envisaged by the PM to provide assistance and help mitigate the economic impact of Covid-19.
Under the yojana, additional foodgrain of 5 kg per person is given to all beneficiaries covered under the National Food Security Act.
Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani addressed the beneficiaries before the PM interacted with them. Deputy chief minister Nitinbhai Patel is also present on the occasion.
Nearly 948 lakh metric tonnes of foodgrain was allocated last year which is 50 percent more than a normal year to ensure food security during COVID. About ₹2.84 Lakh crore food subsidy incurred during 2020-21.
More than 3.3 crore eligible beneficiaries in Gujarat got 25.5 lakh metric tonnes of foodgrain, incurring a subsidy amount of more than ₹5000 crores. To further strengthen food security for migrant beneficiaries, the One Nation One Ration Card has been implemented so far in 33 states/Union Territories.