The Centre on Friday said it will provide 5 kg of food grains free-of-cost to around 80 crore Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PM-GKAY) beneficiaries during May and June 2021 amidst the second wave of COVID-19 cases.
"In line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi's commitment to the poor, the Government of India has decided to allocate free-of-cost food grains @5 kg per person per month to nearly 80 crore beneficiaries covered under National Food Security Act, 2013 (NFSA) over and above NFSA food grains for next two months i.e. May and June 2021 on the same pattern as the earlier Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PM-GKAY)," a government statement said.
While announcing the scheme, the prime minister stressed that it is important for the poor to get nutritional support at a time when the country is facing the second wave of the pandemic.
"Under this special scheme, around 80 crore NFSA beneficiaries -- covered under both categories of NFSA; Antyodaya Anna Yojana and Priority Householders -- will be provided with an additional quota of free-of-cost food grains (rice/wheat) at a scale of 5 kg per person per month, over and above their regular monthly entitlements under NFSA," it added.
The Centre will spend Rs 26,000 crore under the scheme. The government had announced PM-GKAY in March last year when the first nationwide lockdown was imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Later in June, the scheme was extended till November.
With states like Maharashtra and Delhi imposing lockdowns to curb the spread of COVID-19 infections, many migrants have started returning back to their hometowns and villages. Earlier this week when Delhi government announced a 6-day lockdown, thousands of daily wagers had crowded the Anand Vihar bus station to get a ride back to their homes. Similar situation was also seen at Mumbai's Lokmanya Tilak Terminus after Maharashtra closed all factories and shops.
On Friday, India recorded another day of a record-high 3,32,730 new coronavirus cases over the preceding 24 hours. The number of active cases now stand at 24,28,616.