The Union Cabinet on Friday decided to provide free foodgrains to over 81 crore beneficiaries covered under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) for one year. The beneficiary families which used to pay ₹1 for coarse cereals, ₹2 for wheat and ₹3 for rice per kg will now get 35 kg of foodgrain free for the next one year and others will get 5 kg for free in a month till December 2023. The Centre has estimated an additional amount of ₹2 lakh crore for the scheme.
Union Food Minister Piyush Goyal said though the economic situation after the pandemic was normal, a decision was taken to extend the benefits of the Antyodaya Ann Yojana, PMGKAY and the NFSA to more people by merging them. The PMGKAY, launched during the lockdown in April 2020, was scheduled to end on December 31, 2022.
The Centre has been maintaining that the country has adequate storage of foodgrain to meet the welfare schemes. The Opposition has also been urging the Centre to provide foodgrain for needy people considering the economic situation, inflation and unemployment. The ruling BJP had used the schemes as a point for political campaign in the recently held Assembly elections too.
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