The union cabinet may take a call on extending the free dry ration distribution scheme, Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY), beyond its stipulated deadline, September 30, 2022. The cabinet is scheduled to meet later today.
The Centre recently reviewed the food stock situation. Sources say that adequate food grain stock is available with the government. Key Finance Ministry officials have earlier expressed that it is unlikely a further extension would be considered. However, the decision will have to be looked at from political interests.
“The PMGKAY scheme will cost the government an additional Rs 80,000 crore until the end of this month, which shall pull the government's estimated expenditure by Rs 2.5 lakh crore for this financial year. If there is a further extension, then the government will have to be prepared.” said a key finance ministry official.
The PMGKAY was launched in March 2020 to provide free 5 kg of food grains per person per month to about 80 crore beneficiaries covered under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) to reduce their hardship during the lockdown period. This was over and above the general allocation under NFSA.
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