Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Monday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, requesting him to extend by three more months the government provision to provide free food grains to the poor.
In her letter, she said nearly three months since the country went into a strict lockdown to contain the spread of coronavirus, millions of Indians are at the risk of slipping into poverty.
"The Union government must consider extending the provision for free food grains for a further period of three months i.e. from July-September 2020. Several states have requested for the same," she said, and hoped the government would agree to her suggestion and act immediately.
Gandhi also said that since a significant number of poor households continues to be excluded from the Public Distribution System, "temporary ration cards must be issued to all such households".
She said the adverse impact of the lockdown on livelihoods has led to chronic food insecurity for both the urban and rural poor.
"In light of the current situation, food entitlements must be expanded to address the hunger crisis facing some of the most vulnerable people in the country," she added.
Gandhi said the provision to supply 5 kg free food grains per person per month under the Antyodaya Anna Yojana, and to priority households under the National Food Security Act from April-June 2020 was announced in the beginning of the lockdown, in addition to regular entitlements.
The government also announced free food grain of 5 kg per person per month for migrants not covered under any central or state PDS scheme, for the month of May and June, the Congress chief said.
The provision for free food grains should be extended for a further period of three months, she suggested.