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Centre extends free foodgrain scheme till Nov for 80 crore people

The Centre has decided to extend the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) till November, a move that will help 80 crore people continue to get a predetermined amount of free foodgrains every month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Monday.

Addressing the nation, Prime Minister Modi said, “Today the government has decided that the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana will now be extended till Diwali. In this time of pandemic, the government is standing with the poor for all his needs.”

Under PMGKAY, launched during the first Covid-19 wave last year, beneficiaries covered under the National Food Security Act, 2013 are provided 5 kg additional foodgrains free of cost per month over and above their regular entitlements.

On April 23, this year, the government had announced its decision to restart PMGKAY amid a surge in Covid-19 cases. The new version of the PMGKAY, however, lacks one of its important components — the free-of-cost 1 kg pulses per month to each household covered under the NFSA.

PMGKAY was first announced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman as part of the government’s Rs 1.70 lakh crore relief package on March 26 last year. Initially, the scheme was for May, June and July. Later, it was extended till November 2020.

The Centre had also launched a separate scheme to provide free 5 kg of foodgrain per person per month to stranded migrants for two months. It ruled out the possibility of a similar scheme this time.

According to the Food Ministry, about 80 lakh metric tonnes of foodgrains will be distributed during May and June this year and the Centre will bear the full cost of the scheme — about Rs 26,000 Crore.

Till June 3, a total of 34 states and Union Territories had started foodgrain distribution under PMGKAY.
Against the allocation of 80 lakh metric tonnes, states have lifted 63.03 LMT and distributed 28.82 LMT till June 3, shows the data available with the Ministry. It shows that about 55 crore beneficiaries have given free foodgrains for the month of May and about 2.64 crore beneficiaries have received their quota of June.

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