The central government, on Wednesday, announced the extension of the 'Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) scheme' for an additional five years, aiming to provide 5 kg of free food grains per month to 81 crore poor starting from January 1, 2024.
Giving details about the government's latest decision, Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur said the around 13.50 crore Indians rose above the poverty level in the last five years.
"This is a big achievement of the Modi Government," Thakur added.
Under this initiative, the Centre has been supplying free food grains to Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) households and Priority households (PHH) beneficiaries as part of PMGKAY. The scheme, initially implemented for one year from January 1, 2023, was last extended until December 31, 2023.
What Is Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana?
The Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Ann Yojana (PM-GKAY) was launched by the Indian government in April 2020 as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This social welfare scheme is designed to provide financial assistance to economically weaker sections affected by the pandemic.
The scheme encompasses the distribution of 5 kg of free food grains each month, along with cash transfers to women and elderly individuals. It was introduced as part of the broader Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package, aiming to offer relief to those adversely affected by the pandemic, especially the poor and marginalised.
As per the scheme, the government offers 5 kg of free food grains each month in addition to subsidised ration given to families covered by the Public Distribution System under the National Food Security Act.
In January 2023, the Center merged PM-GKAY with the National Food Security Act till December 2023. In the Union Budget 2023, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced that the central government would cover Rs 2 lakh crore under the PM Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana for the entire year of 2023.
Eligibility Criteria For PMGKAY:
The benefits of the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Ann Yojana are accessible to families meeting specific eligibility criteria:
- Families belonging to Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) and Priority Households (PHH) categories will be eligible for the scheme. PHH is to be identified by State Governments/Union Territory Administrations as per criteria evolved by them. AAY families are to be identified by States/UTs as per the criteria prescribed by the Central Government:
- Households headed by widows or terminally ill persons or disabled persons or persons aged 60 years or more with no assured means of subsistence or societal support.
- Widows or terminally ill persons or disabled persons or persons aged 60 years or more or single women or single men with no family or societal support or assured means of subsistence.
(Eligibility criteria points taken from the government website)