Plate Full and Stomach Full

Free foodgrain scheme named ‘PM Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana

The Centre has named its new free foodgrain scheme under the National Food Security Act, 2013, as ‘Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY)’, the Union Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution said Wednesday.

“Implementation of the new scheme has started from January 1, 2023, benefitting more than 80 crore poor and poorest of poor people,” the ministry said in a statement.

The name of the new scheme is similar to that of the free foodgrain scheme implemented as part of the Centre’s Covid-19 package announced in 2020. However, the difference between the two schemes is that about 81 crore NFSA beneficiaries were entitled to get free of cost 5 kg foodgrain per person in a month over and above their monthly entitlements. However, they were required to pay the subsidised rate of foodgrains (Rs 3 per kg rice, Rs 2 per kg wheat and Rs 1 per kg coarse grains) to purchase the quantity for which they were entitled–35 kg per Antyoday Anna Yojana Household and 5kg per person to a Priority Household in a month.

In the new scheme, the government has done away with the subsided prices and is providing foodgrains free of cost for a year. But now the additional quantity, which was available during the Covid pandemic, will not be provided to these beneficiaries. They will receive as much quantity of foodgrains, for which they are entitled under the NFSA.

The move comes days after the Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, approved the new integrated food security scheme for providing free foodgrains to Antodaya Anna Yojna (AAY) & Primary Household (PHH) beneficiaries under the NFSA for a year beginning January 1, 2023.

“Keeping in view welfare of the beneficiaries and in order to maintain uniformity across the states, free foodgrains will be provided under PMGKAY for the year 2023 to all PHH and AAY beneficiaries, as per entitlement under the NFSA,” the statement said.

The Central Government will spend more than Rs 2 lakh crore in 2023 as food subsidy under NFSA and other welfare schemes, to remove the financial burden of the poor and the poorest of the poor, it added.

“The integrated scheme will strengthen the provisions of the NFSA, 2013 in terms of accessibility, affordability and availability of foodgrains for the poor,” it said.

The statement said, “Necessary steps have already been taken for smooth implementation of the PMGKAY in the field, i.e. necessary notification has been issued for making price of foodgrains zero for AAY and PHH beneficiaries, resolution of technical issues at Fair Price Shops (FPS), advisory related to margin to the Fair Price Shop Dealers, zero prices in the print receipts given to beneficiaries etc.”

“Officers of the Department of Food & Public Distribution and FCI are regularly interacting with state government officers for smooth rollout of the new scheme,” it said.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *