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Cabinet Clears Extension of Free Ration Scheme By 3 Months

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The Union Cabinet on Wednesday gave its approval to extend the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PM-GKAY) scheme by three months till December 2022. The current Phase-VI of the PM-GKAY scheme, which has been under implementation since April 2020 as the largest food security programme in the world, is ending on Friday (September 30).

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While addressing a Cabinet briefing on Wednesday, Union Minister Anurag Thakur announced the decision on Wednesday. He said the government has so far spent about Rs 3.45 lakh crore under the scheme. “Under the latest extension till December 2022, the Centre will spend about Rs 44,762 crore.”

With the additional expenditure of about Rs. 44,762 crore for Phase-VII of this scheme, the overall expenditure of PMGKAY will be about Rs 3.91 lakh crore for all the phases, according an official statement.

The PM-GKAY has covered nearly 80 crore beneficiaries across India. Under the PM-GKAY, each beneficiary gets an additional 5 kg free ration per person per month in addition to his normal quota of foodgrains under the National Food Security Act (NFSA). This means that every poor household would get nearly double the normal quantity of ration.

“In pursuance of the pro-people announcement made by Hon’ble Prime Minister in 2021and successful implementation of additional food security under PMGKAY, the Union Cabinet has approved the extension for the  Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY-Phase VII) for a further  period of 3 months i.e. October to December 2022,” the statement said.

It added that PMGKAY has been in operation for 25 months — Phase I and II (8 months) between April 2020 and November 2020; Phase-III to V (11 months) between May 2021 and March 2022; and Phase-VI (6 months) between April 2022 and September 2022.

Thakur said about 122 lakh metric tonnes of foodgrain will be allocated during Phase-VII (October-December 2022). The government had allocated about 244 lakh metric tonnes (LMT) of free foodgrains under the PM-GKAY under Phase VI. The aggregate allocation of food grain for phases I- VII is about 1121 LMT.

The PM-GKAY, started during difficult time of COVID-19 crisis, has provided food security to the poor, needy and the vulnerable households/beneficiaries so that they do not suffer on account of non-availability of adequate foodgrains. Effectively it has doubled the quantity of monthly foodgrains entitlements being normally delivered to beneficiaries.

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