Interacting with the beneficiaries of PM Gareeb Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) -- a food grain entitlement scheme for the poor launched in the wake of the first Covid-19 lockdown in March last year -- Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said that the government is committed to ensure the well-being of the common man. PM Modi also said that the country is racing towards the 50 crore vaccination mark at a fast pace.
“Government is committed to ensure the well-being of all the citizens of the country. The once in a hundred years pandemic has affected everybody. We need to take utmost precaution while doing our work. PMGKAY has provided the much-needed confidence to the poor. India is racing toward the 50 crore vaccination mark at a very fast rate,” said PM Modi during his address to the beneficiaries from Gujarat virtually, while also reiterating the need for adherence to the Covid-19 appropriate behaviour.
Taking a dig at previous regimes, PM Modi said that the earlier governments too took the poverty alleviation measures but they did not have the desired results. “India is providing free food grains to over 80 crore citizens and is spending Rs 2 lakh crore on the scheme. The scheme will be applicable till Diwali. Lakhs of labourers have benefitted from the scheme after the Covid-19 pandemic hit the country,” PM Modi said.
The one common query Modi had with all the beneficiaries under the scheme was whether they were getting the benefits under the scheme without any hassle and red tape. The beneficiaries said that they were getting the benefits under the scheme seamlessly.
In the wake of the Covid-19 lockdown in March last year, the government rolled out the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PM-GKAY) to supply free food grains to migrants and the poor. The scheme was targeted at the Below Poverty Line (BPL) families, migrant labourers, widows, landless agricultural labourers, marginal farmers, and artisans among others.
The scheme aimed at helping the marginal section of the society sustain itself in the wake of the loss of livelihood due to the pandemic. The benefit under the scheme is over and above the monthly entitlement under the National Food Security Act, 2013.
Immediately after the announcement of nationwide lockdown in March last year, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced a Rs 1,70,000 crore package to help the poor amid the disruptions caused by the pandemic. PMGKAY was also a part of it. The scheme was originally announced for a period of three months till June last year and further extended till November last year. In the wake of the second wave of the pandemic, the scheme has now been extended till November this year.
During May and November 2021, more than 81.35 crore people would be provided 5 kg free wheat or rice per person per month along with 1 kg free whole chana to each family per month under the scheme.
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