The Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY), which gives free food to India’s 80 crore poor, has been extended by three months by the government led by the BJP. The move was made because of the high inflation in the country and the upcoming festival season. It also came before the important elections in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh.
Union Minister Anurag Thakur said that the programme that gives 80 crore poor people 5 kg of free wheat and rice every month will now last until December 31. He was giving a report on the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Cabinet meeting. Most states, including those that were run by the BJP, wanted the programme to keep going. In April 2020, the plan was started to help people whose jobs were hurt by a nationwide lockdown.
Anurag Thakur promised that there is enough grain in the buffer stock and that there will be no shortage of wheat or rice rations. The government has already put limits on how much wheat and flour can be sent abroad.
According to the FCI website, the country currently has 244.63 LMT (lakh tonnes) of rice and 248.22 LMT (lakh tonnes) of wheat. According to the first advance estimates for the 2022–23 crop year (July–June), foodgrain production is expected to be 149.92 million tonnes, which is less than the previous season’s 156.04 million tonnes.
The Finance Ministry’s Expenditure Department is also thought to have said that extending the scheme would be bad for food security and the budget.
Since the PMGKAY programme started in April 2020, the government has spent Rs 3.45 lakh crore on it. With the latest extension costing an extra Rs 44,762 crore, the total cost of the PMGKAY will be about Rs 3.91 lakh crore for all of its phases. About 1,121 LMT of food grain will be given out as a whole.