The Union Cabinet on Wednesday gave approval to the extension of PM Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) till November. The decision was taken in a meeting headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. "The Cabinet under the leadership of @PMOIndia @narendramodi gave approval for extending #PMGKAY - Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana upto end November. 81.09 crore people would rightly get free food grains (5kg/person) for 8 continuous months," Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman tweeted.
Modi last month had announced that PMGKAY will be extended till November-end. Extension of the scheme for another 5 months will cost the government Rs 90,000 crore, PM Modi had also said. "If we add expenditure of the past three months which has been incurred on the scheme, it amounts to nearly Rs 1.5 lakh crore," Modi had said in his address to the nation. Eighty crore poor families will continue to get 5 kg of free rice or wheat and 1 kg of dal till November, he had said.
Among ministers present at the meeting were Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.
PMGKAY is a welfare scheme announced by the government in March 2020 in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic by the Department of Food and Public Distribution under the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution. The scheme envisages to fulfill the food requirement of the needy by providing food grains through a public distribution system devised to reach all the priority households (Ration card holders) and Antyodaya Anna Yojana. The scheme provisions for providing 5 kg of rice or wheat per person and 1 kg of dal to each family holding a ration card. The scale of this welfare scheme makes it the world's largest food security programme.