New Delhi: The Modi government has once again decided to extend the free ration scheme through Public Distribution Scheme (PDS) under the ‘Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana’ (PMGKAY) till September 2022. This decision will provide relief to the poor and needy who struggle to make their ends meet. Modi govt scheme will prove to be a boon for the 80 crore poor people who either lost their job or struggling for their livelihood.
The Centre govt started the scheme of providing free ration in March 2020, under the PMGKAY; the poor families get five kg of food grains per person free of cost. So far, the government has distributed a total of about 760 lakh tonnes of food grains to the states and union territories.
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Just after winning in UP again in the recent assembly elections, the Yogi govt has also extended the time for providing free food grains to poor families by three months. Millions of people are forced to live under the poverty line. This is a formidable problem today, because the national rate of unemployment is more than eight percent. How long will it take for 100 percent restoration of those whose jobs were lost during the pandemic, perhaps even the governments do not have an accurate estimate of it. Although the top govt officials has suggested to PMO to refrain from this type of freebies for the sake of the economy, the Modi government has got ahead and decided to extend the PMGKAY duration till Sep.
It is worth noting that providing free ration to the common people in times of need has become possible only because of record food grains that have been procured by the govt from the farmers even in the midst of the pandemic. Due to higher MSP and crop prices, farmers have been motivated to increase crop production further.
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Currently, the FCI gowdowns are full of wheat and rice stocks, which provides a cushion to the Modi govt in extending the free scheme. This year too record crop output is expected in India. However, doubts were also being expressed that after the elections, the government would abolish the scheme. Taking into account free ration for the next six months then the Government of India will provide 1003 lakh metric tonnes of food grains free of cost to the poor. This quantity is unprecedented and so far, the govt has spent Rs 2.60 lakh crores on this scheme and in the next six months, Rs 80 thousand crores more will be spent on it.