NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday announced extension of the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY), a free ration scheme, for 80 crore people across the country till end of November.
Under the scheme, 5 kgs of wheat or rice and 1 kg of pulses per month will be given free of cost to the poor.
In his televised address, PM emphasized that provision of food to those in need during lockdown has been the foremost priority of the government. Hence, PM Garib Kalyan Yojana with package of Rs 1.75 lakh crore was rolled out as soon as the country went into lockdown to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. The scheme was initially rolled out for three months.
Modi also noted that the number of people who were provided free ration under the scheme is several times the population of many large nations. Further, the upcoming rainy season followed by back to back festivals would lead to an increase in expenditure by the households. Hence, the scheme was extended for a further period of five months.
The extension of the scheme will cost more than Rs 90,000 crore to the government. In total, the Centre will spend almost Rs 1.5 lakh crore towards the scheme.
Modi also applauded the hard-working farmers and honest tax payers for making it possible for the government to procure and distribute free foodgrains.
He further said that timely lockdown to contain coronavirus and other decisions saved many lives, but added that since “Unlock 1” has begun, people have shown negligence.
He said in comparison to other countries across the globe, India has done well in dealing with the pandemic.
(With PTI inputs)