Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday announced extension of the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY), a free ration scheme, for 80 crore people across the country till end of November.
In a televised address to the nation, PM Modi also said the government was working on a “one nation, one ration card” initiative.
On the extension of the PMGKAY, he said it will cost the government Rs 90,000 crore more.
Under the scheme, five kgs of wheat or rice and one kg of pulses per month will be given free of cost to the poor. The scheme was initially rolled out for three months.
PM Modi stated that be it the central government, state governments or the civil society everyone had made an effort to ensure that none of our poor brothers and sisters would go hungry during the pandemic and subsequent lockdown.
“In a way, our government has given free food grains to two and a half times more people than the total population of America, 12 times more than the population of Britain, and more than twice the population of the European Union,” said PM Modi.
PM Modi stated that keeping in mind the financial difficulties owing to the COVID crisis and the upcoming festival the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana will now be extended till Diwali and Chhath Puja.
“Under PM Garib Kalyan Yojana, we announced a package of Rs. 1.75 lakh crore. In the last 3 months, Rs. 31,000 crore deposited in bank accounts of 20 crore poor families. Also, Rs. 18000 crore deposited in bank accounts of more than 9 crore farmers,” says PM Modi.
“PM Gareeb Kalyan Anna Yojana will be extended till the end of November, extension to cost over Rs 90 thousand crore,” said PM Modi.
“Today, if the government is able to provide free food grains to the poor & the needy, the credit goes to two sections. First, the hardworking farmers of our country and second, the honest taxpayers. I thank you from my heart,” added PM Modi.
The prime minister also said timely lockdown to contain coronavirus and other decisions saved many lives, but added that since “Unlock 1″ has begun, people have shown negligence.
He said in comparison to other countries across the globe, India has done well in dealing with the pandemic.