Twenty lakh tonnes of free foodgrains distributed under fifth phase of PMGKAY

Nearly 20 lakh tonnes of foodgrains have been distributed for free so far to eligible beneficiaries under the fifth phase of Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY).

In March 2020, the Centre had launched the scheme to provide free foodgrains to over 80 crore beneficiaries covered under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) as part of its effort to reduce the hardships of people during the coronavirus pandemic.

The additional foodgrains of 5 kilograms per person per month is over and above the normal quota provided under the NFSA at a highly subsidised rate of Rs 2-3 per kg.

The scheme has been extended several times and is now valid till March 2022. Under the fifth phase, which is from December 2021 to March 2022, the food ministry had allocated 163 lakh tonnes of foodgrains to all States/UTs, for the four-month distribution period.

“Since the distribution of only second month has started recently, the reports available from the States/UTs, shows a distribution of about 19.76 lakh tonnes foodgrains to the beneficiaries so far,” an official statement said.

Initially in 2020-21, the PMGKAY scheme was announced only for a period of three months of April, May and June 2020 (Phase-I). Later, the government extended the scheme from July to November 2020 (Phase-II). With the COVID crisis continuing in 2021-22, the Centre in April 2021 had re-introduced the scheme for a period of two months of May and June 2021 (Phase-III) and extended it for another five months from July to November 2021 (Phase-IV). The scheme was again extended from December 2021 to March 2022 (Phase-V).

Under the Phases I to V, the food ministry had so far allocated a total of about 759 lakh tonnes of foodgrains to the States/UTs, which is equivalent to about Rs 2.6 lakh crore in food subsidy, the statement said.

So far, a cumulative total of about 580 lakh tonnes of foodgrains have been distributed to the beneficiaries.

Mizoram, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim have been rated as best performing states with regard to distribution of foodgrains under Phase I & II of PMGKAY.

Chhattisgarh, Tripura, Mizoram, Delhi and West Bengal have been rated as best performing States with regard to distribution of foodgrains under Phase III & IV. As many as 12 States/UTs — Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, DNH D&D, Delhi, Haryana, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Punjab, Rajasthan, Telangana, Tripura and UP — reported 98-100 per cent Aadhaar-based foodgrain distribution under Phase III and IV of PMGKAY.

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