Union Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan on Tuesday urged state governments to complete at the earliest distribution of free PDS grains and pulses for June month under the PMGKAY, and swiftly begin the process for next five months till November.
Paswan's appeal to states came immediately after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced extension of the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) by five months till November.
The PMKGAY, announced as part of the Rs 20 lakh crore stimulus package to help those affected due to the coronavirus-induced lockdown, was earlier valid for a three-month period from April to June.
"I thank the Prime Minister for extending PMGKAY for five months till November. This will benefit 80 crore beneficiaries in this crisis and also during the agriculture and festival seasons in the coming months," Paswan said in a statement.
He appealed to state governments, which have not completed distribution of June month quota of free grains under the Public Distribution System (PDS), to finish it early and swiftly.
The minister also requested state governments to start lifting the required foodgrains from state-owned Food Corporation of India (FCI) for distribution under the PMGKAY for the coming months.
As per the official data, the quota of free grains for June has not yet been distributed in West Bengal, while it is lagging in some other states.
For instance, about 37 per cent distribution has been done in Bihar, 66 per cent in Delhi and 72 per cent in Maharashtra and Himachal Pradesh.
Under PMGKAY, the government is providing 5 kg rice or wheat per beneficiary and 1 kg of pulses per family free of cost. This is over and above the subsidised grains being given as per the National Food Security Act.