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5 kg free wheat or rice to be provided to more than 80 crore people, along with 1 kg of whole channa, per month
New Delhi, June 30, 2020
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today announced the extension of the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana -- launched at the beginning of the lockdown imposed from March 25 to contain the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic -- up to the end of November this year.
As part of the scheme, 5 kg free wheat or rice will be provided to more than 80 crore people from the weaker sections -- to each member of a family -- along with 1 kg free whole chana per family, per month
"The nation’s top priority during the lockdown was to ensure that no one remains hungry. Central government, state governments, civil society, all did their best... to ensure that no one goes to bed hungry," he said during a televised address to the nation on the eve of Unlock 2, the second phase of relaxation of the lockdown restrictions in the country.
While the lockdown will continue till July 31 in the Containment Zones, almost all activities -- except those which are specifically barred -- are now open in the non-containment zones.
"Be it a nation or a person, timely and sensible decisions increase our power to fight any crisis. Thus, immediately after the lockdown, the government brought out the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana. Under this scheme, a package worth Rs. 1.75 lakh crore was provided for the poor," Modi said.
The Prime Minister said that, in the last three months, 20 crore poor households had received direct benefit transfers worth Rs. 31,000 crore. During this period, Rs. 18,000 crore have been deposited in bank accounts of over 9 crore farmers.
"Simultaneously, Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyaan was quickly launched for employment of Shramiks in rural areas. Government is spending Rs. 50,000 crore on this," he said.
"There is another big thing that has surprised the whole world. In India, over 80 crore people were given free ration for three months. It means, every member of the family was given 5 kilogram wheat or rice, free of cost. In addition, every family got one kilogram pulses per month, free of cost. In a way, over 2.5 times the population of the United States, 12 times the population of the United Kingdom and double the population of the European Union was given free ration by our government," he said.
"Today, I am making a big announcement related to this. In our country, there are many activities in agriculture during and after rainy season. Other sectors do not have much activity. July also marks beginning of the festive season. 5th July is Guru Purnima, then month of Saawan is starting. Then 15th August is coming, Raksha Bandhan, Sri Krishna Janmashtami,Ganesh Chaturthi, Onam will follow. Further, Kati Bihu, Navratri, Durga Puja is coming, then Dussera, Diwali and Chhath. This festive season increases necessities as well as expenditure.
"Keeping all these things in mind, it has been decided to extend Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana up to Diwali and Chhath Puja, till November-end.
"It means, this scheme giving free ration to 80 crore people will continue in July, August, September, October, November. Government will provide free ration to 80 crore poor brothers-sisters for five months. Every member of family will get five kilogram wheat or rice. Also, every family will get one kilogram whole chana per month, free of cost," he said.
"Over 90 thousand crore rupees will be spent on this extension of PM Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana. If we add expenditure of last three months on this scheme, then it comes to around 1.5 lakh crore rupees," he said.
Modi also said the One Nation, One Ration Card scheme is also being implemented across the country. "We have seen a dream for the whole country and some states have really done well. We are requesting other states also totake it forward. Major beneficiaries of this will be those who go to other states, in search of employment," he said.
He said that, if the government is able to provide free ration to the needy and the poor, credit for it goes to two categories of people -- the hardoworking farmers and the honest taxpayers.
"It is your hard work and dedication, due to which the nation is able to do it. You have filled the stocks of the nation, therefore, there is food in kitchen of poor, workers.You paid the tax honestly, you fulfilled your duty. That is why, the poor of the country is successfully coping with such a big crisis. On behalf of all the poor of the country, I express my heartfelt gratitude to all the taxpayers and farmers, and also salute them," he said.
"In the coming days, we will further strengthen our efforts and continuously work to empower the poor, downtrodden and deprived sections of society. While taking all the precautions, we will further expand the economic activities. We will work ceaselessly for Atmanirbhar Bharat (self-reliant India). We all will be Vocal for Local. With this pledge and commitment, the 130 crore people of this country will have to work together and move forward together," he said.
Modi began his address by referring to the Unlock-2 which will begin tomorrow in the fight against the pandemic.
"We are also entering the season of increasing cases of cough, cold and fever. I, therefore, request all of you to take special care of yourselves
"Considering corona’s death rate, India is comparatively in a better position compared to many countries of the world. Timely imposition of lockdown and other decisions have saved lakhs of lives. But we have also seen that since Unlock-One, there is increasing negligence in personal and social behaviour. Earlier, we were very careful with respect to wearing of masks, social distancing and washing of hands for 20 seconds. But today, when we need to be more careful, increasing negligence is a cause of worry.
"Rules were followed very strictly during the Lockdown. Now governments, local bodies, citizens, need to show similar alertness. Especially, we need to focus more on containment zones. Those not following the rules will need to be stopped and cautioned. You must have seen in the news, Prime Minister of a country was fined Rs. 13,000 for not wearing a mask in public place. In India too, the local administration should work with the same enthusiasm. This is a drive to protect the lives of 130 crore countrymen. Be it a village pradhan or the Prime Minister, no one is above the law in India," he said.
"I once again request you, pray for your, and appeal to you, that you all remain healthy, maintain a distance of two yards, always use your ‘Gamchha’, Face cover and mask. Please, do not be careless," he added.