In a recent public meeting held in Durg, Chhattisgarh, Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a significant announcement regarding the extension of the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana, a free ration scheme aimed at assisting 80 crore impoverished individuals. The scheme, which was initially introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, provides 5 kg of free food grains every month to those in need.
Prime Minister Modi declared the extension of this vital initiative for another five years, emphasizing the importance of the people’s support and blessings in making such decisions.
The Significance of the Free Ration Scheme
The Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana has played a crucial role in supporting the economically vulnerable segments of society, especially during lockdowns and economic disruptions caused by the pandemic. By extending the scheme for another five years, the government aims to continue providing essential food supplies to the country’s most impoverished citizens.
Political Context: Poll-bound Chhattisgarh
This announcement was made in the backdrop of the upcoming Chhattisgarh assembly elections, scheduled to be held in two phases on November 7 and 17. As the ruling party seeks re-election in the state, Prime Minister Modi used this platform to reinforce the government’s commitment to welfare programs like the free ration scheme.
Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY): An Overview
The Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) is a significant welfare scheme initiated by the Indian government to address the nutritional needs of the economically disadvantaged population. This scheme, introduced in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, aims to provide essential food grains to vulnerable households across the country.
Objective of PMGKAY
The primary goal of PMGKAY is to alleviate hunger and ensure food security for the most economically disadvantaged citizens in India. The scheme seeks to address the immediate food requirements of marginalized individuals during times of crisis, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. By providing free food grains, PMGKAY aims to mitigate the adverse economic and social impacts of food scarcity.
Scope and Beneficiaries
PMGKAY is an extensive program designed to benefit a substantial portion of the Indian population. It targets approximately 80 crore (800 million) individuals who fall under the category of “poor.” These beneficiaries include those living below the poverty line, daily wage laborers, and other vulnerable groups.
Implementation and Key Features
Free Food Grains: Under PMGKAY, eligible beneficiaries receive 5 kilograms of food grains per person per month, entirely free of cost. The food grains provided typically include rice and wheat, which are staple food items in India.
- Nationwide Reach: The scheme is implemented across all states and union territories in India, ensuring a widespread distribution of food grains to those in need.
- PDS (Public Distribution System) Integration: The distribution of free food grains under PMGKAY is facilitated through the existing Public Distribution System (PDS) in India. This integration allows for efficient and transparent delivery of essential supplies.
COVID-19 Response: PMGKAY was originally launched as a response to the economic challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. It has since been extended to provide continued support to vulnerable populations.