Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on Saturday that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government will extend the free ration scheme for the next five years. The scheme – Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana – will benefit 80 crore poor people of the country, he said while speaking in poll-bound Chhattisgarh. The Prime Minister’s statement came as the Lok Sabha poll are due next year.
About the free ration scheme
The PM Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PM-GKAY) was started during the time of COVID-19 crisis. According to a government press release, the scheme 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,” the release published in 2022 read.
Later, in January 2023, the Modi Cabinet approved a new integrated food security scheme for providing free foodgrains to Antodaya Ann Yojna (AAY) and Primary Household (PHH) beneficiaries.
The new scheme was also named as Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Ann Yojana (PMGKAY). The scheme was implemented on January 1, 2023, “benefitting more than 80 crore poor and poorest of poor people”, the government said.
“Keeping in view welfare of the beneficiaries and in order to maintain uniformity across the States, free foodgrains will be provided under PMGKAY for the year 2023 to all PHH and AAY beneficiaries, as per entitlement under the NFSA (National Food Security Act, 2023),” it added.
The Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution had then announced that the central government will spend more than ₹2 lakh crore in 2023 as food subsidy under NFSA and other welfare schemes, “to remove the financial burden of the poor and the poorest of the poor”.
The Chhattisgarh Assembly Election 2023 is all set to take place this year in two phases on November 7 and November 17. Meanwhile, the Lok Sabha Elections will take place in 2024. During the general elections (or Lok Sabha polls), all eyes will be on the BJP, which is hoping to retain power in the country for third consecutive term.
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Updated: 04 Nov 2023, 04:41 PM IST