Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said the government will extend for five years the free ration scheme, Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana, covering 80 crore poor people. This announcement was made by Modi while addressing a rally for Chhattisgarh elections in Durg. The PM Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) was started in April 2020 to help the poor amid the COVID pandemic for three months but it was extended later. Under the free ration scheme, poor families get 5 kg of food grains each month.
The Congress however criticised the move. Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge said the Prime Minister is thinking of the poor now only because it is election time. The Congress also claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi's announcement was a "blatant violation" of the model code of conduct as it was made during the Chhattisgarh election campaign.
India TV also asked an opinion poll on this - 'Will extension of free ration scheme till 2028 create problems for the opposition parties in 2024 Lok Sabha elections?' While 78 per cent of voters thought that the Opposition would face a new challenge after BJP's this move, 18 per cent were of the view that it won't make any difference. 4 per cent abstained from voting.