Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has urged the Centre to continue giving free wheat and pulses to the beneficiaries of National Food Security Act for another six months under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana.
In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Singh said the extension of the scheme will go a long way in ensuring that the poor do not sleep hungry.
The chief minster urged Modi to advise the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Government of India, accordingly.
Singh said the early announcement of the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) has provided major relief to the poor National Food Security Act (NFSA) beneficiaries during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a statement.
Underlining the need to continue the scheme, the CM pointed out that the financial condition of the poor has not improved much even after resumption of industrial activities in Punjab, it said.
Of the 2.60 lakh industrial units in the state, more than 2.32 lakh units have resumed operations, but the loss of wages over the past few months due to coronavirus-induced lockdown has severely crippled the purchasing power of the people, especially the poor NFSA beneficiaries, Singh said in the statement.
He said the nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of the COVID-19 had not only slowed down the country's economy but also led to a major reduction in the incomes and savings of the people.
Besides, there is an upward trend in the number of COVID-19 cases after announcement of relaxations in the lockdown and government may again impose restrictions to check the spread of virus, the CM said.
He said the extension of PMGKAY for six months would be of immense help to the needy NFSA beneficiaries in these trying times.