Keeping in mind the welfare of the beneficiaries and to maintain uniformity across the states, free food grains will be provided under PMGKAY for 2023 to the poor beneficiaries as per their eligibility under the National Food Security Act (NFSA).
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The central government’s integrated food security scheme is called Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY), under which more than 80 crore poor are being provided free food grains since January 1. The move comes amid criticism from the government for ending the free monthly distribution of five kilograms of food grains to poor people under another scheme known as PMGKY.
The scheme, launched in April 2020 in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, ended in December last year. Last month, the government decided to incorporate PMGKAY into the two existing food subsidy schemes, and as a result, the new Integrated Food Security Scheme came into effect. The new scheme has been named Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY), the food ministry said in a statement.
35 kg per family per month
Keeping in mind the welfare of the beneficiaries and to maintain uniformity across the states, the poor beneficiaries under PMGKAY for 2023 will be provided free food grains as per their eligibility under the National Food Security Act (NFSA). The foodgrain entitlement is five kg per person per month for priority category families under NFSA, while it is 35 kg per family per month for Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) families.
Necessary steps have already been taken for implementation
Till December 2022, NFSA beneficiaries were entitled to foodgrains at highly subsidized rates of Rs 1, Rs 2 and Rs 3 per kg for coarse cereals, wheat and rice respectively. Now, they get it for free this year. According to the ministry, necessary steps have already been taken for smooth implementation of PMGKY at the ground level.
In 2023, it will cost more than two lakh crore rupees
Officials of the Ministry and Food Corporation of India (FCI) are in regular touch with state government officials for smooth implementation of the new scheme. To alleviate the financial burden of the poor, the central government will spend over Rs 2 lakh crore in 2023 in the form of food subsidy under NFSA and other welfare schemes.