More than 80 crore people getting free rations during the pandemic, no citizen goes hungry, says Modi
New Delhi, August 3, 2021
Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said more than 80 crore people were getting free rations during the COVID pandemic under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana.
No citizen went hungry despite the biggest calamity of the century, Modi said while interacting with the beneficiaries of the scheme in Gujarat through video conferencing. The scheme is being run with an expenditure of more than Rs two lakh crore, he added.
"After independence, almost every government talked about providing cheap food to the poor. The scope and budget of cheap ration schemes increased year after year, but the effect remained limited. The country's food stocks kept increasing, but starvation and malnutrition did not decrease in proportion. One major reason for this was the lack of an effective delivery system.
"To change this situation work was started afresh after 2014, using new technology, crores of fake beneficiaries were weeded out of the system and ration cards were linked to Aadhar cards. This helped in ensuring that no citizen went hungry despite the biggest calamity of the century when livelihood was threatened and business suffered due to lockdown," he said.
Modi said that, today, in addition to the quota of wheat at Rs 2 per kg and rice at Rs 3 per kg, five kg of wheat and rice were being given free to every beneficiary. "That is, almost double the amount of ration is being provided to the ration card holders than before this scheme started. This scheme will continue till Diwali. No poor will sleep hungry," he said.
He praised the Gujarat government for taking care of the migrant labourers, fulfilling the purpose of "One Nation One Ration Card" Initiative.
Modi said that, while the country was spending lakhs of crores on infrastructure, to improve the quality of life of common people, it was also setting new benchmarks for Ease of Living. "Empowerment of the poor was being given top priority. They are being empowered as more than 2 crore poor families got houses, 10 crore families got toilets. Similarly, they get empowered when they get included in the banking system via Jan-Dhan account," he said.
"Such empowerment needs consistent hard work for ensuring health, education, facilities and dignity. Schemes like Ayushman Yojana, Reservations for Economically Weaker sections, roads, free gas and electricity connection, Mudra Yojana, Svanidhi Yojana were giving a direction to dignified life for the poor and becoming a medium of empowerment.
"There were many more such works in the entire country due to which the confidence of every citizen and region was increasing. This self-confidence is the formula to overcome every challenge, to achieve every dream," he said.
Referring to India's Olympic contingent, Modi said despite the once-in-a-century calamity, the highest number of players qualified for the Olympics. They were giving a tough fight to better-ranked players.
"The zeal, passion and spirit of Indian players were at the highest level today. This confidence comes when the right talent is identified and encouraged. This confidence comes when the systems change, become transparent. This new confidence is becoming the hallmark of New India," he said.
He urged the people to display this confidence in the fight against COVID and also in the vaccination campaign. He stressed the need to maintain constant vigilance in this environment of a global pandemic.
“As the country is moving rapidly towards the vaccination milestone of 50 crore, Gujarat is also approaching the milestone of distributing 3.5 crore vaccine doses,” Modi said. He stressed the need to vaccinate, wear masks and avoid being a part of crowds as much as possible.
The Prime Minister gave a resolution to the countrymen to awaken new inspiration for nation-building. He urged them to take this vow during the 75 years of independence. In these resolutions, the poor, the rich, men and women, downtrodden, everyone has an equal share.
Nearly 948 lakh tonnes of foodgrains were allocated last year, 50% more than in a normal year to ensure food security during COVID. About Rs 2.84 lakh crore was incurred for food subsidy during 2020-21, he said.
More than 3.3 crore eligible beneficiaries in Gujarat got 25.5 lakh tonnes of foodgrain, incurring a subsidy amount of more than Rs 5,000 crore. To further strengthen food security for migrant beneficiaries, One Nation One Ration Card has been implemented in 33 States/UTs so far, he added.