Punjab CM asks PM Modi to extend free food grain scheme for poor by six months

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Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi with a request to to extend the benefits offered under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana for another six months to ensure continuity of the provision of means of sustenance for the poor in the view of Covid-19 crisis, reports ANI.

Free wheat & pulses are provided to the beneficiaries of National Food Security Act under this scheme.

The central government had announced the scheme earlier this year after the outbreak of the pandemic for additional allocation of food grain to all the beneficiaries under the targeted public distribution system (TPDS) for Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) and priority household (PHH) ration card holders. The eligible individuals were to receive 5kg of food grain per month for a period of three months between April and June, 2020.

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The scheme, according to the central government, directly benefits around 60 crore people and is the world’s largest food security scheme. The government decided to double the allocation for each beneficiary for three months with the additional allocation being free of cost to mitigate the hardships faced by the poorest class. The food grain provided under the scheme, include 2 kg wheat, 2 kg rice and 1 kg of grams to ensure protein intake.

The central government unveiled a series of relief and economic stimulus packages after the announcement of nationwide lockdown on March 25. All of these were collectively named Atamnirbhar Bharat Abhiyan package which was announced in five trances, the last being on May 17. The total package was worth Rs 20,97,053 crore including Rs 1.7 lakh crore welfare package under Prime Minister Garib Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY) which was announced on March 26 and Rs 8,01,603 crore monetary measures announced by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

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Apart from the free food grain for three months, the PMGKY included Rs 500 per month cash payment to 200 million women Jan-Dhan account holders for three months and an ex-gratia of Rs 1,000 to 30 million poor senior citizens, widows and Divyangs each. PMGKY also front-loaded the Rs 2,000 installment paid to 87 million farmers under the existing Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN).

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