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Government extended the five kg free grain scheme till March next year – government extended the five kg free grain scheme till march next year

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Government extended the five kg free grain scheme till March next year – government extended the five kg free grain scheme till march next year

New Delhi, Nov 24 (PTI) The Center on Wednesday decided to extend the supply of 5 kg free food grains per month under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) scheme by four months till March 2022. This decision of the government will put an additional burden of Rs 53,344 crore on the exchequer.

This decision has been taken with the intention of helping the poor recovering from the effects of the Kovid-19 pandemic.

This decision will benefit more than 80 crore ration card holders covered under the National Food Security Act (NFSA). This decision was taken in the cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The announcement of distribution of free food grains under the PMGKAY scheme was made in March last year to provide relief to the poor during the COVID pandemic. This will be free food grains distribution under PMGKAY scheme over and above the normal quota provided under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) at a highly subsidized rate of Rs 2-3 per kg.

The duration of the PMGKAY scheme has been extended several times, and the previous extension is valid only till November 30.

Giving information about this decision, Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur said that the cabinet has extended the PMGKAY program for four months till March 2022.

When asked about the reasons for the extension of time of this scheme, Thakur said that the Prime Minister wanted to help the poor who have gone through the COVID-19 pandemic.

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He said that the extension of PMGKAY scheme by four more months would put an additional burden of Rs 53,344 crore on the exchequer. He said that the total cost of PMGKAY would reach around Rs 2.6 lakh crore.

Elaborating further in a separate press briefing, Food Secretary Sudhanshu Pandey said, “This is a proactive measure to support those who are recovering from the pandemic. The economy is in recovery mode. People are also recovering from the shock of the pandemic. This is a very good decision to help the common poor people.

Asked whether the decision was taken to help the Uttar Pradesh government, which had announced in early November to extend the scheme till Holi, the secretary said, “The decision has not been taken for one state.” This is for the whole country.

The scheme was launched in April, 2020 for three months to provide relief to the poor amid the nationwide lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then it has been extended several times.

Under the National Food Security Act, five kg of food grains are being provided over and above the normal quota.

Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur after the Union Cabinet meeting said, “PMGKAY has been extended by four months till March, 2022.”

Last year, as the economic activities were affected due to the rapid spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country, the government in March 2020 had announced to distribute free food grains to around 80 crore beneficiaries of the National Food Security Act (NFSA).

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Phase I and Phase II of this scheme were made operational from April to June, 2020 and July to November, 2020 respectively.

The third phase of the scheme was operational from May to June 2021, while the fourth phase of the scheme is currently operational for July-November, 2021.

“The additional cost of food subsidy for the fifth phase from December 2021 to March 2022 is estimated to be Rs 53,344.52 crore,” a government statement said.

The total consumption at the level of food grains for the fifth phase under PMGKAY is likely to be around 163 lakh tonnes.

So far, under PM-GKAY (phase I to IV), the Center has allocated about 600 lakh tonnes of food grains to the States/UTs, which is equivalent to about Rs 2.07 lakh crore in food subsidy.

“Overall, the government will spend around Rs 2.60 lakh crore in PMGKAY phase one to five,” the statement said.

So far 93.8 percent food grains have been lifted by the States/UTs.

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