Center extends free ration scheme for more four months till March, 2022

Center extends free ration scheme for more four months till March, 2022

Hummingbird News Desk

NEW DELHI, 24 NOV: The Center has approved the extension of its free ration scheme Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) for another four months, until March, 2022.

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Under this scheme, more than 80 crore ration card holders are being given five kg of rice or wheat per month free of cost in addition to the five kg which they are already eligible for on a subsidised basis under the National Food Security Act.

This fifth phase of the scheme, from December 2021 to March 2022 will entail an estimated subsidy of Rs. 53,345 crore, with a total outgo of 163 lakh tonnes of grain, according to an official statement. The first four phases have already seen almost 600 lakh tonnes of grain allocated to States, at a subsidy cost of about Rs. 2.07 lakh crore.

Phase-I and Phase-II of this scheme was operational from April to June, 2020 and July to November, 2020 respectively. Phase-III of the scheme was operational from May to June, 2021. Phase-IV of the scheme is currently operational for July-November, 2021 months.

The PMGKAY scheme for Phase V from December 2021 till March, 2022 would entail an estimated additional food subsidy of Rs. 53344.52 crore, an official statement said.

It may be recalled that in the wake of economic disruptions caused by the unprecedented outbreak of COVID-19 in the country last year, the government in March 2020 had announced the distribution of additional free-of-cost foodgrains (Rice/Wheat) to about 80 crore National Food Security Act (NFSA) beneficiaries at the scale of 5 Kg per person per month under the PM Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PM-GKAY), over and above the regular monthly NFSA foodgrains i.e., regular entitlements of their ration cards, so that the poor, needy and the vulnerable households/beneficiaries do not suffer on account of non-availability of adequate foodgrains during the times of economic crisis.

The latest phase of the scheme had been scheduled to end this month and Food Secretary Sudhanshu Pandey told journalists earlier this month that there was no proposal for extension as the economy was reviving. In the run-up to Uttar Pradesh assembly polls, the State government had announced a unilateral extension until March 2022, and the Centre has now decided to follow suit.

Tags: #PMGKAY #FreeRationScheme #NationalFoodSecurityAct

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