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New Delhi, June 22, 2020
Congress President Sonia Gandhi today urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to extend the provision of free food grains, announced at the beginnning of the lockdown to contain the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, by another three months from July to September.
In a letter to Modi, Gandhi said that, nearly three months since the country went into a strict lockdown, millions of Indians were at the rask of slipping into poverty.
"The adverse impact on livelihoods has led to chronic food insecurity for both, our urban and rural poor," she said.
"In light of the current situtation, food entitlements msut be expanded to address the hunger crisis facing some of the most vulnerable people in the country," she said.
The provision for supply of 5 kg free fodo grains per person per month to Antyodaya Anna Yogaja and Priority Households under the National Food Security Act from April-June, 2020, in addition to regular entitlements, was announced at the beginning of the lockdown.
She noted that the Government had also announced free foodgrains of 5 kg per person per month for migrants not covered under any Central or State Public Distribution Scheme (PDS), for the months of May and June.
"The Union Government must consider extending the provision for free food grains for a further period of three months, i. e. from July-September 2020. Several States have requested for the same. Furthermore, since a significant number of poor households continue to be excluded from the PDS system, temporary ration cards must be issued to all such households," she added.