Union Cabinet approves extension of free grain program until November

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The cabinet on Wednesday approved a proposal to expand the distribution of free food grains and pulses under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) to 81 crore PDS beneficiaries for five months through November.

The program was initially rolled out for three months until June to ensure that no poor go hungry during the Covid-19 crisis. Under this program, five kg of wheat or rice and one kg of pulses per month are provided free of charge.

“The Prime Minister announced that this program would be extended and the same was approved by the Cabinet today,” Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar said at a press briefing.

PMGKAY has been extended for five months until November. About 20.3 million tonnes of food grains and 970,000 tonnes of chana will be distributed for free over the next five months, he said.

The distribution of free rations under the PMGKAY would cost Rs 1.49 billion to the public treasury, he added. The estimated cost is the provision of eight months of the diet under the diet.

Declaring this to be the most popular program, the Minister said, “For the first time since (India’s) independence, free food grains are being distributed for eight months. No country has such an important program.

In a televised address to the nation on June 30, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the extension of the PMGKAY free ration program until the end of November 2020 to improve the hardships faced by the underprivileged or the poor due to the economic disruption caused. by confinement due to Covid-19.

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In a statement, the government said the extension of PMGKAY is in line with the government’s commitments not to allow anyone, especially a poor family, to suffer due to the unavailability of food grains due to disruptions in the country. over the next five months.

The free distribution of chana will also ensure adequate availability of protein to all of the aforementioned people during those five months, he said.

All expenses relating to the extended PMGKAY will be borne by the central government, he added.

The free ration provided under PMGKAY is in addition to subsidized cereals provided by the Public Distribution System (PDS) under the National Food Security Law.

Regarding the distribution of free rations to 80 million migrant workers, Javadekar said about 800,000 tonnes of food grains have been allocated for this purpose and migrants can use their quota until August.

About 5 kg of food grains per beneficiary and 1 kg of pulses per family are distributed free of charge to migrants who do not have a ration card from the center or the state under the Aatmanirbhar Bharat program.

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