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Over 17 crore poor yet to get month’s quota of additional free grains

On Friday, Union Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Ram Vilas Paswan said while other states and Union Territories have carried out distribution, either fully or partially, Delhi and West Bengal are yet to distribute their share for May.

Written by Harikishan Sharma | New Delhi | Updated: May 30, 2020 7:38:09 am
PM Garib Kalyan Ann Yojana, PMGKAY,  free food frains for poor, india coronavirus lockdown, ramvilas paswan, india covid relief package, covid economic relief package Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan

Over 17 crore beneficiaries across the country are yet to get their quota of additional 5 kg free foodgrain under the PM Garib Kalyan Ann Yojana (PMGKAY) for the month of May, according to data available with the Union Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution.

The data shows that as on May 28, grains have been distributed to more than 62 crore people, or 78 per cent beneficiaries under PMGKAY.

The scheme involves providing additional 5 kg foodgrain free to 80 crore NFSA beneficiaries, over and above their monthly entitlement.

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PMGKAY is one of the main components of the Centre’s Rs 1.70 lakh crore package under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana for the poor to “help them fight against coronavirus”. It was announced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on March 26.

On Friday, Union Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution Ram Vilas Paswan said while other states and Union Territories have carried out distribution, either fully or partially, Delhi and West Bengal are yet to distribute their share for May.

Addressing the media online, before the first anniversary of the second term of the Narendra Modi government, Paswan said, “Delhi and West Bengal have distributed April’s quota of foodgrain under PMGKAY. Delhi achieved 96 per cent distribution in April, while West Bengal notched 93 per cent. However, the two states have achieved zero (distribution) for the month of May.”

Paswan said he has written to and spoken with the ministers concerned in both states and requested them to ensure timely distribution.

The minister said only four states—Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Goa and Nagaland—have distributed free foodgrain under the scheme to all beneficiaries for May. Over a dozen states/UTs—Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Telangana, Tripura, Uttarakhand, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Meghalaya, Odisha, and Rajasthan among them—have completed over 90 per cent distribution of the month’s quota.

The government had announced a monthly quota of free 5-kg foodgrain per individual and 1 kg pulses per family under PMGKAY for NFSA beneficiaries for April, May and June.

According to the ministry’s data, free foodgrain was distributed to 73.47 crore—or 92 per cent beneficiaries—under PMGKAY in April, meaning they could not be given to nearly 7 crore beneficiaries even last month.

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