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Centre extends free food-grains scheme under National Food Security Act for five years till 31.12.2028.

Centre extends free food-grains scheme under National Food Security Act for five years till 31.12.2028.



The Union government has decided to provide free ration to over 81 crore people for five more years till December 2028 under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana scheme, that would cost the exchequer Rs 11.8 lakh crore, Union Minister Anurag Thakur said on Wednesday.


The decision was approved by the Cabinet meet chaired by PM Narendra Modi. The extension is seen as an important move by the government to woo voters in the ongoing Assembly elections and Lok Sabha polls next year.


The Centre has decided to provide free ration to over 81 crore people for five more years until December 2028 under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) scheme, which would cost the exchequer around Rs 11.8 lakh crore, Union minister Anurag Thakur said on Wednesday.


The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday night, approved the decision. The extension of the scheme, which was set to end in December this year, is seen as an important move by the BJP government to woo voters in the ongoing Assembly elections and Lok Sabha polls next year.


“Overall, in the next five years, the government of India will spend Rs 11.80 lakh crore on the scheme,” Thakur said at a media briefing.


Under the scheme, launched in April 2020 in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, 5 kg of foodgrain per person per month is provided free of cost to all beneficiaries covered under the National Food Security Act (NFSA).


According to a statement by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution, PMGKAY is among the world’s biggest social welfare schemes, aimed at ensuring food and nutrition security for 81.35 crore people.


Free foodgrains (rice, wheat and coarse grains/millets) under PMGKAY for five years from January 1, 2024, will strengthen food security and mitigate any financial hardship of the poor and vulnerable sections of the population, the ministry said.


“It would provide nationwide uniformity in delivery of foodgrains free of cost in all States/UTs through a network of over 5 lakh Fair Price Shops under a common logo,” it added.


Initially, the PMGKAY scheme was announced only for a period of three months (April–June 2020). After multiple extensions, it was to end on December 31, 2023. However, with another five-year extension, it will remain in force until the end of 2028.


The cabinet’s decision comes nearly a month after Modi made an announcement in this regard at an election rally in Chhattisgarh.

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