Home >News >India >800 million poor to receive foodgrain for free in May, Jun

New Delhi: The central government will spend 26,000 crore to provide free foodgrain to the poor in the next two months under the PM Garib Kalyan Ann Yojana (PMGKAY), a scheme launched last year during the first wave of the covis-19 pandemic.

Under the scheme, five kilogram of free foodgrain will be provided to around 800 million beneficiaries, said an official statement. The idea is to shield the poor from disruptions caused by the severe second wave.

The scheme covers beneficiaries under the National Food Security Act which entitles up to three-fourth of the rural population and half the urban population to subsidized foodgrain under the targeted public distribution system.

The free-food scheme announced last March as part of a 1.7 trillion humanitarian package was operated till November.

The scheme has now been resumed for two months—May and June. This is over and above the monthly entitlement under the food security law, the official statement said. Last year’s supply of free foodgrain had the additional offer of 1 kg of pulses per family, which is not part of this year’s offer.

The Centre will bear the expenditure of over 26,000 crore on account of food subsidy and central assistance for intrastate transportation, the statement said.

News agency PTI reported that under PMGKAY last year, over 20 million tonnes of free foodgrain were provided amounting to a fiscal outgo of over 75,000 crore, covering over 800 million beneficiaries.

The nutrition support to the poor comes at a time when states are imposing curfews and strict lockdowns locally to break the chain of infections, a move which puts livelihoods at risk for the poor.

Policymakers are now facing the challenge of ensuring access to healthcare facilities to people and of containing the pandemic’s toll.

The surge in infections is threatening the country’s economic recovery impacting the viability of businesses and pushing more people into debt.

In the FY22 central budget, the government gave a strong push to domestic manufacturing and capital investments into infrastructure to support economic recovery.

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