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Indian Economy

Extension of Food Grain Scheme

  • 30 Jun 2020
  • 3 min read

Why in News

Recently, many states have demanded for the extension of the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY).

Key Points

  • Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana:
    • PMGKAY is a part of Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package (PMGKP) to help the poor fight the battle against Covid-19.
    • It was announced for a three month period (April, May and June), covering 80 crore ration cardholders. It will come to an end on 30th June 2020.
    • The scheme aimed at providing each person who is covered under the National Food Security Act with an additional 5 kg grains (wheat or rice) for free, in addition to the 5 kg of subsidised foodgrain already provided through the Public Distribution System (PDS).
    • The beneficiaries are also entitled to 1 kg of pulse for free, according to regional preferences.
  • Performance of the Scheme:
    • According to the Union Ministry of Food and Public Distribution, a total of 116.02 lakh metric tonnes (LMT) of food grains have been lifted under the scheme.
    • In April, 93% of the food grains were distributed targeting 74.05 crore beneficiaries.
    • In May, the distribution stood at 91% reaching 72.99 crore beneficiaries
    • In June 2020, 71% of allocated food grains have been distributed to 56.81 crore beneficiaries so far.
  • Sufficient Food Stock:
    • According to the Central government, the Food Corporation of India has “sufficient stock of food grains”.
    • It has a stock of 266.29 LMT rice and 550.31 LMT wheat as on June 28.
      • This is excluding the ongoing purchase of wheat and paddy stocks that have not yet reached the godowns.
    • Each month, only about 55 LMT of food grains is required for distribution to ration cardholders.
  • Issues Involved:
    • There is an excess of food stocks along with widespread hunger in the country.
    • Around 200 million beneficiaries did not get their due in April 2020– in the distribution of additional food grains and pulses under the scheme.
    • In April 2020 the government also allowed the conversion of surplus rice into ethanol for making alcohol-based hand sanitiser.
    • With the beginning of the monsoon, there is a danger of food grains getting rot.

Way Forward

  • The food grain provided under the scheme must continue until the impact of Covid-19 pandemic is not reduced. The impact of Covid-19 pandemic is still continuing, many economic activities have not been able to start in their full capacity, and a large number of people are unemployed.
  • India has large buffer stocks of food grains that are maintained precisely for meeting emergencies like Covid-19. What is required is a universal Public Distribution System (PDS) to ensure that nobody is excluded.

Source: TH

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