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Govt Extends Free Ration Scheme For Next Three Months

Govt Extends Free Ration Scheme For Next Three Months

The Cabinet decided to extend the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PM-GKAY) for about 80 crore beneficiaries, at an additional cost of Rs 44,762 crore

PTI

The government on Wednesday approved extending Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s free ration scheme for the poor by three months to December 2022. 

The Cabinet decided to extend the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PM-GKAY) for about 80 crore beneficiaries, at an additional cost of Rs 44,762 crore. 

The scheme to provide 5 kg of wheat and rice free of cost to 80 crore poor every month, which was ending on Friday, will now run through December 31, 2022, I&B Minister Anurag Thakur said.

The Union Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a meeting on Wednesday decided to extend the scheme by three months, he said.

The PMGKAY was started in April 2020 to help those affected by a nationwide lockdown due to Covid-19. The scheme has been extended multiple times and was to end on Friday.

"At a time when the world is battling with the effects of Covid on its decline and insecurity due to various reasons, India has been successfully maintaining food security for its vulnerable sections while taking necessary steps to keep availability and affordability for common man," an official statement said.

"Recognising that people have gone through a difficult period of pandemic, government has decided to extend PMGKAY for a period of three months so that poor and vulnerable sections of society are supported for the forthcoming major festivals." Under this scheme, 5 kg of foodgrain per person per month is provided free of cost for all the beneficiaries covered under the National Food Security Act (NFSA).

Thakur said the government has so far spent Rs 3.45 lakh crore on the PMGKAY scheme since its launch in April 2020.

With the additional expenditure of about Rs 44,762 crore for the latest extension, the overall expenditure of the PMGKAY will be about Rs 3.91 lakh crore for all the phases, he said.

Thakur said 122 lakh tonne (12.2 million tonne) of foodgrains will be given out free of cost in the three months from October 1. The total allocation of foodgrain for phases I-VII will reach about 1,121 lakh tonne (112.1 million tonne).

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