The Union Cabinet on Wednesday has approved allocation of additional foodgrain under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana (Phase IV) for another period of five months from July to November.
Under this scheme 5 kg per person per month free of cost ration is provided to maximum 81.35 crore beneficiaries — roughly two-thirds of India’s population. These 81.35 crore beneficiaries are those covered under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) (Antyodaya Anna Yojana and Priority Households) including those covered under Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT).
The sanction of the additional foodgrain facility for another five months would entail an estimated food subsidy of Rs 64,031 crore.
As the Central government is bearing the entire expenditure towards this scheme without any contribution by states or Union Territories (UTs), an additional expenditure of about Rs 3,234.85 crore would be required to be met towards transportation and handling and Fair Price Shop (FPS) dealers’ margins.
Thus, the total estimated expenditure to be borne by the Central government will be Rs 67,266.44 crore.
The allocation in terms of wheat or rice shall be decided by the Department of Food and Public Distribution. Also, the Department of Food and Public Distribution may decide on the extension of the lifting or distribution period under Phase III and Phase IV of PMGKAY as per operational requirements, arising out of adverse weather conditions like monsoon and snowfall, and supply chain and Covid-induced constraints.
The total outgo in terms of foodgrains may be approximately 204 LMT.
The additional allocation is expected to ameliorate the hardships faced by the poor due to economic disruption caused by coronavirus.
The Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, made it clear that “no poor family will suffer on account of non-availability of foodgrains due to disruption in the next five years”.