The Centre has allocated nearly 600 lakh tonnes of foodgrains for free distribution under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) to provide relief to ration card holders amid the pandemic, and out of this, 83 per cent grains were lifted by states till September 15.
To ameliorate the hardships faced by the poor and needy due to economic disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the central government announced PMGKAY last year, an official statement said.
The Centre is providing an additional quantity of 5 kg foodgrains per person per month, free of cost, to more than 80 crore beneficiaries over and above the normal quota under National Food Security Act (NFSA).
Initially, this additional free benefit under PMGKAY was provided for a period of three months (April-June 2020). However, with the crisis continuing, the programme was extended for another five months (July-November 2020).
After the onset of the second wave of the pandemic, PMGKAY was once again rolled out for a period of two months (May-June 2021) and was further extended for a period of five months (July- November 2021).
“Government of India has so far allocated nearly 600 lakh tonne of foodgrains under PMGKAY scheme in all its four phases. Against the total allocation done under the scheme in all phases, 82.76 per cent of lifting of foodgrains has been done till September 15, 2021,” the statement said.
Till September 15 of phase-4 period, which started in July this year, 56.53 per cent of foodgrains were lifted in the country. Phase-4 will conclude in November 2021. Union Territory of Andaman and Nicobar is at the top by lifting highest percentage of foodgrains during phase-4. It has lifted 93 per cent of the allocated foodgrains under PMGKAY-phase 4, followed by Odisha at 92 per cent.
Tripura and Meghalaya are on the third spot lifting 73 per cent each while Telangana, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh lifted 71 per cent foodgrains each till September 15. Under NFSA, the government provides 5 kg of foodgrains per person per month to over 80 crore people at a highly subsidised rate of Rs 1-3 per kg. Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) provides 35 kg per family per month.