The central government on Wednesday extended the 'Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) scheme' to provide 5 kg of free foodgrains per month to 81 crore poor for another five years. This will be implemented from January 1, 2024.
Under this scheme, the Centre has been providing food grains free of cost to Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) households and Priority households (PHH) beneficiaries under PMGKAY for a period of one year beginning from 1st January 2023.
Giving details about the government's latest decision, Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur said the around 13.50 crore Indians rose above the poverty level in the last five years. "This is a big achievement of the Modi Government. Similarly, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana was introduced. It has been was decided that this scheme would be extended for the next five years with effect from 1st January 2024," Thakur added.
The minister outlined that the expenditure on the scheme will be around Rs 11.8 lakh crore over the span of the next five years.
PMGKAY launched in 2020
In December last year, the Centre decided to merge the PMGKAY with the National Food Security Act (NFSA). The PMGKAY was launched in 2020 to provide additional food grains free of cost. Under the NFSA, up to 75 per cent of the rural population and 50 per cent of the urban population are being covered under two categories -- Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) and priority households.
While AAY households, which constitute the poorest of the poor, are entitled to 35 kg of foodgrains per family per month, priority households get 5 kg per person per month. According to government officials, the NFSA 2013 provides for coverage of up to 75% of the rural population and up to 50% of the urban population, which as per Census 2011 comes to 81.35 crore people.
About PMGKAY scheme
It should be mentioned here that Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) is a scheme as part of Atmanirbhar Bharat to supply free food grains to migrants and the poor. The scheme provides 5 kg of food grain to each family holding a ration card free of cost and the 5 kg of subsidized food grain already offered through the Public Distribution System (PDS). Wheat has been allocated to 6 States/UTs, - Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Chandigarh, Delhi, and Gujarat, and rice has been provided to the remaining States/UTs.
(With inputs from agencies)