PMGKAY: Center Extends Free Food Cereal Program by Six Months to September

The Center has extended the “PMGKAY” free food grain program for six months until September this year to help the poor, Union Minister Piyush Goyal said on Saturday.

A decision in this regard was taken at the Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Food Minister Piyush Goyal tweeted that the government had extended the program until September 2022.

The extension of the program despite the end of the COVID-19 pandemic shows the sensitivity of the Modi government towards the poor, he tweeted.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also tweeted on the same subject.

Under the PMGKAY scheme, which has been ongoing for years, the government will distribute 1,003 lakh tonnes of food grains at a cost of Rs 3.4 lakh crore to the Treasury.

In March 2020, the Center had launched the programme, Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY), to provide free food grains to over 80 million beneficiaries covered by the National Food Security Act (NFSA) as part of its efforts to reduce hardship for people during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Center provides 5 kg of grain free of charge per month under this programme.

The extra free grain exceeds the normal NFSA quota at a heavily subsidized rate of Rs 2-3 per kg.

The scheme has been extended several times with the recent until March 2022.

Initially in 2020-21, the PMGKAY device was only announced for a three-month period of April, May and June 2020 (Phase-I).

Later, the government extended the program from July to November 2020 (Phase-II).

With the COVID crisis continuing in 2021-22, the Center in April 2021 had reintroduced the scheme for a period of two months from May and June 2021 (Phase-III) and extended it for another five months from July to November 2021 (Phase-IV).

The program has again been extended from December 2021 to March 2022 (Phase-V).

Under Phases I to V, the Ministry of Food had allocated a total of about 759 lakh tons of food grains to the States/UTs, which is equivalent to about Rs 2.6 lakh crore in food subsidies.

Christy J. Olson