The Cabinet on Wednesday approved a proposal to extend distribution of free foodgrains and pulses under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) to 81 crore PDS beneficiaries for five months till November.
The scheme was initially rolled out for three months till June to ensure no poor goes hungry during the COVID-19 crisis. Under the scheme, five kg of wheat or rice and one kg of pulses per month are being provided free of cost. The PMGKAY has been extended for another five months till November. About 203 lakh tonnes of foodgrains and 9.70 lakh tonne of chana will be given for free in the next five months, he said.
The distribution of free ration under the PMGKAY would cost Rs 1.49 lakh crore to the exchequer, he added. The estimated cost is for providing eight months of ration under the scheme.
In a statement, the government said the extension of PMGKAY is in line with the commitments of the government not to allow anybody, especially any poor family, to suffer on account of non-availability of food grains due to disruption during the next five months.
All expenses on the extended PMGKAY will be borne by the central government, it added. Free ration provided under the PMGKAY is in addition to the subsidised grains given through Public Distribution System (PDS) under the National Food Security Act.