New Delhi: The Centre has decided to extend its free ration scheme Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) for another four months, until March 2022. At its meeting on Wednesday, the Cabinet also gave its formal approval to repeal three contentious farm reform laws in the upcoming winter session of Parliament, as announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi last week.
In pursuance of the pro-people announcement made by Prime Minister in his address to nation on 07.06.2021 and as part of the Economic Response to COVID -19, the Union Cabinet has approved the extension for the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY-Phase V) for a period of another 4 months i.e. December 2021 till March 2022 @ 5 kg per person per month free of cost for all the beneficiaries covered under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) [Antodaya Anna Yojana & Priority Households] including those covered under Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT).
Phase-I and Phase-II of this scheme was operational from April to June, 2020 and July to November, 2020 respectively. Phase-III of the scheme was operational from May to June, 2021. Phase-IV of the scheme is currently operational for July-November, 2021 months.
The PMGKAY scheme for Phase V from December 2021 till March, 2022 would entail an estimated additional food subsidy of Rs. 53344.52 Crore
The total outgo in terms of food-grains for PMGKAY Phase V is likely to be about 163 LMT.
It may be recalled that in the wake of economic disruptions caused by the unprecedented outbreak of COVID-19 in the country last year, the Government in March 2020 had announced the distribution of additional free-of-cost foodgrains (Rice/Wheat) to about 80 Crore National Food Security Act (NFSA) beneficiaries at the scale of 5 Kg per person per month under the PM Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PM-GKAY), over and above the regular monthly NFSA foodgrains i.e., regular entitlements of their ration cards, so that the poor, needy and the vulnerable households/beneficiaries do not suffer on account of non-availability of adequate foodgrains during the times of economic crisis. So far, under the PM-GKAY(phase I to IV) the Department had allocated a total of almost 600 LMT foodgrains to the States/UTs equivalent to about Rs. 2.07 Lakh Crore in food subsidy.
The distribution under PMGKAY-IV is presently ongoing, and as per the reports available from States/UTs so far, 93.8% foodgrains have been lifted and nearly 37.32 LMT (93.9% of July’21), 37.20 LMT (93.6% of Aug’21), 36.87 LMT (92.8% of Sept’21), 35.4 LMT (89% of Oct’21) and 17.9 LMT ( 45% of Nov’21) foodgrains have been distributed to about 74.64 Crore, 74.4 Crore, 73.75 Crore, 70.8 Crore and 35.8 crore beneficiaries respectively.
Going by the experience of earlier phases, the performance of PMGKAY-V is also expected to be on the same high level as achieved before.Overall, the government will be incurring an expenditure of nearly Rs.2.60 lakh Crore in PMGKAY Phase I- V.