Home >News >India >Modi gives farmers, taxpayers credit for the free food grain scheme
Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (ANI)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (ANI)

Modi gives farmers, taxpayers credit for the free food grain scheme

  • Modi’s expression of gratitude comes at a time when the centre and the states have hiked taxes on petrol, diesel
  • The PM today announced extension of free food grain scheme to cover 80 crore poor. The plan will cost 90,000 crore

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday sought to comfort sections of society worried about high taxes on petrol and diesel by thanking honest tax payers who have enabled financing of the free food grain scheme, a major humanitarian effort in dealing with the coronavirus crisis.

Modi said that if the government has been able to give free food grain to the needy, its credit goes to two classes of people—farmers and honest tax payers.

“Your effort is your contribution because of which the nation is able to offer this welfare scheme. You have filled our granaries, that is why the kitchen in every poor household is active. You have paid taxes honestly and fulfilled your responsibility that is why the poor in our country are able to confront such a big challenge facing us. Today, along with every poor person, I express my gratitude to our farmers and tax payers," Modi said.

The Prime Minister appreciated the states that did well on humanitarian work and reassured that work on the ‘one nation one ration card’ plan was afoot so that migrant workers can get their entitled food grain wherever they are.

Modi on Tuesday extended the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana that offers free food grain and cash to the poor and vulnerable by five months. The programme was announced on 26 March by finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, a day after Modi announced the first phase of the lockdown on 25 March, for three months till end of June. The Prime Minister said in his address to the nation that the scheme will now run till November. The scheme covers 80-crore poor people.

Modi’s expression of gratitude comes at a time central government and many states have gradually stepped up taxes on petrol and diesel when oil prices declined in global markets in recent months. The Indian basket of crude oil price which had fallen below an average of $20 a barrel in April has recovered since. On Tuesday, petrol and diesel were ruling above 80 a litre in the national capital, a large part of which is central and state taxes.

Till end of November, the free food grain scheme is expected to cost the exchequer 1.5 trillion starting 26 March. “We will need 90,000 crore (for the extension till November). If we take the last three months too, this scales 1.5 trillion," Modi said.

(Elizabeth Roche contributed to this story)

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