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New Delhi, July 8, 2020
The Union Cabinet today approved further extension of the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) as part of the economic response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic for additional allocation of food grains from the Central Pool for another five months from July to November, 2020.
In March, the Government had announced the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package (PMGKP) to ameliorate the hardships faced by the poor due to economic disruptions caused by COVID-19.
This package inter-alia comprises the implementation of "Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PM-GKAY)”, through which additional free-of-cost food grains (Rice/Wheat) at the rate of 5 kg per person per month are being provided to about 81 crore beneficiaries covered under National Food Security Act, 2013 (NFSA), so that poor and vulnerable families/beneficiaries are able to access food grains easily without facing any financial distress. Under this programme initially, free food-grains for three months -- April, May and June -- were provided.
However, keeping in view the need for continuous support to the poor and the needy, the PM-GKAY scheme has been extended further for a period of five months from July-November 2020.
This would entail an additional estimated expenditure of Rs 76,062 crore on account of cost and distribution of food grains, an official press release said.
The Cabinet also approved the distribution of 9.7 lakh MT cleaned whole chana to States and Union Territories (UTs) for distribution to all beneficiary households under the National Food Security Act, at one kg per month free of cost at a total estimated cost of Rs 6,849.24 crore.
About 19.4 crore households would be covered under the scheme. All expenses on the extended PMGKAY are to be borne by the Central Government. Extension of the Yojana is in line with the commitments of the Government not to allow anybody, especially poor families, to suffer on account of non-availability of food grains due to disruption during the next five months.
Free distribution of whole Chana will also ensure adequate availability of protein to all the above-mentioned individuals.
The distribution of pulses for the package emanated from robust availability of stock in the buffer which was set up in 2015-2016. The Union Government has sufficient stocks of gram for distribution for the extended period of PMGKAY, the release added.
In another decision, the Cabinet approved the proposal of Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas for extension of time limit by three months from July 1 for availing the benefits of “Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana" for Ujjwala beneficiaries.
Earlier, it was decided to provide free of cost refills for PMUY consumers for three months from April 1.
Under the scheme, Rs 9709.86 crore was transferred directly into the bank accounts of Ujjwala beneficiaries during April-June and 11.97 crore cylinders were delivered to the PMUY beneficiaries.
On review of the scheme, it was observed that a section of PMUY beneficiaries was yet to utilize the advance credited into their account to purchase the cylinder refill within the scheme period. Hence, the Cabinet has approved the proposal of the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas to extend the time-limit for availing the advance by three months.
This will benefit those PMUY beneficiaries who have been credited with the advance for buying the cylinder but have not been able to purchase the refill. Thus, the beneficiaries who already have the advance transferred to their account can now take the free refill delivery till September 30.