Govt To Provide Free Food Grain To 81 Crore Indians Till Next Year
India’s Government has agreed to give a free ration to 81.35 crore poor Indian citizens. The Government has merged PMGKAY and NFSA schemes into one.
This free foodgrain supplies will continue for a year. According to officials, the move will cost Rs2 lakh crore for the exchequer.
Currently, the NFSA Act beneficiaries pay Rs 1-3 per kilogram. The Act provides foodgrain at a rate of 5 kg per person per monthly for priority households and 35 kg per family for Antodaya Anna Yojna families (AAY), at highly subsidized prices, Re 1, Rs2, Rs3 and Rs3 per kilogram for rice, coarse cereals, and wheat.
The government will offer a free ration for beneficiaries of the scheme in 2023. This decision was taken days before the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Ann Yojana (PMGKAY), which will end on December 31, 2022.
The PMGKAY was created during the 2020 Covid pandemic. It provided 5kg of food grain at no cost to those who fell under the NFSA quota. Now, the Centre has merged the PMGKAY and NFSA schemes.
Officials from the government described the Cabinet’s latest decision as a “New Year gift for the poor”, stating that more than 81.35 million people will now receive free food grains under NFSA.
They said that the beneficiaries won’t have to pay even a rupee for food grains.
In July 2013, the Centre enacted NFSA, giving 67% of the population (65% in rural areas, 50% in urban areas) legal rights to highly subsidized food grains.
The Census 2011 population data is used to calculate the Act’s coverage. The NFSA covers approximately 81.35 million people in 36 states/UTs.
Piyush Goyal, Food Minister, informed the Parliament that, under the PMGKAY the government had allocated almost 1,118 million tonnes of foodgrains to states/UTs (total allocation between Phase I and Phase VII).
He said that the total amount of food subsidy and central aid for all phases I-VII amounts to Rs3.91 lakh crore.