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With Covid-19 Running Riot Again, Centre Extends Scheme to Provide Free Foodgrains to Poor for May-June

Labourers move a cart loaded with rice bags inside a food processing unit, which was reopened after weeks-long shutdown due to Covid-19. (File photo/Reuters)

Labourers move a cart loaded with rice bags inside a food processing unit, which was reopened after weeks-long shutdown due to Covid-19. (File photo/Reuters)

The PMGKAY was announced in 2020 for three months till July and later extended till November to combat the economic impact of Covid-19 on the poor.

The Union Cabinet has given ex-post facto approval to a proposal to distribute monthly 5 kg free foodgrains to about 80 crore PDS beneficiaries during the May-June period under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY).

The PMGKAY was announced in 2020 for three months till July and later extended till November to combat the economic impact of Covid-19 on the poor.

In view of the resurgence, the Food Ministry re-implemented the PGMKAY for two months with effect from May 1.

“The cabinet meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has given its ex-post facto approval…for allocation of additional foodgrain under PMGKAY-III for another period of two months — May to June 2021," the government said in a statement.

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Under the scheme, a monthly 5 kg per person will be given free of cost for about 79.88 crore beneficiaries covered under National Food Security Act (NFSA), including those covered under Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT), it added.

The total outgo in terms of foodgrains may be approximately 80 lakh tonne and would entail an estimated food subsidy of Rs 25,332.92 crore, the statement noted.

According to the government, “Additional allocation will ameliorate the hardships faced by poor due to economic disruption caused by coronavirus".

No poor family will suffer on account of non-availability of foodgrains due to disruption in the next two months, the statement said.

The allocation of foodgrains to states under the PMGKAY will be decided by the Food Ministry on the basis of the existing allocation ratio under NFSA.

Also, the ministry may decide on the extension of the lifting/distribution period under PMGKAY as per operational requirements keeping in view partial and local lockdown situations, and also arising out of adverse weather conditions like the monsoon, cyclones, supply chain and COVID-induced constraints, it added.

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first published:May 06, 2021, 09:39 IST