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Govt may not extend grain allocation to July under free food plan

Monday, Jun 29, 2020

 

By Kaushal Verma

 

NEW DELHI – The government may not extend allocation of free food grains under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Ann Yojana beyond this month, a senior government official said today.

 

"It was meant for three months only not beyond that," the official said. The government has distributed most of the allocated food grain and pulses to beneficiaries and there are no orders to continue the allocation after this month.

 

People are returning to work in most places after lockdown relaxation, he said.

 

In some places, migrant workers have returned and there is no shortage of farm labourers. It paints a picture which shows that beneficiaries are getting employment and may not need this assistance, he said.

 

A senior official with the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India also said they have not received any government directives to distribute more pulses under the plan after this month.

 

Under the free food grain plan, the government gave 5 kg extra food grains–rice and wheat–free of cost to 814 mln beneficiaries of the national food security plan for three months from April. This was in addition to their entitlement of 5 kg grain at subsidised prices.

 

The government distributed around 12 mln tn staple food grains to beneficiaries in the three months. It also provided 1 kg pulses free of cost to all households covered by the national food security plan.

 

In March, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced the free food plan as part of a 1.7-trln-rupee relief package to help economically-weaker sections during the lockdown. Later, she announced another plan to give 5 kg food grains free of cost to 80 mln migrant workers.

 

On Mar 25, the government initiated a lockdown to curb the spread of coronavirus which claimed over 15,000 lives and infected 5.5 mln. The lockdown has derailed normal life and increased unemployment prompting the government to distribute food grains. 

 

In case the government wants to distribute more grains, there is no shortage of food grains and pulses, the government official said.  End

 

Edited by Michael Correya

 

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