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Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojna extended till December

Decision to extend will cost Rs. 44,762 crore

September 29, 2022 11:25 IST | India Infoline News Service
In the wake of important festivals and elections in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, the central government on Wednesday extended its free foodgrain program for the needy for another three months, till December.

According to Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur, the most recent extension of the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY), which was originally implemented in April 2020 during the first wave of the Covid-19 outbreak, would cost the exchequer additional Rs44,762 crores. He stated that the scheme's total cost will be around Rs 3.9 trillion. The National Food Security Act's estimated 800 million recipients receive 5 kg of free wheat or rice per month in addition to their monthly allotment under the PMGKAY.

12.2 million tonnes (mt) of food grain would be given during the seventh phase. The Union Cabinet's decision to extend the program comes as concerns over the central pool inventories have been raised in the wake of a precipitous drop in wheat purchases in FY23. However, the Center has 60.1, mt of foodgrain in its store as of September 1, 2022, including 10.82 mt of unmilled rice. As of October 1 of each year, 30.75 mt of foodgrain is needed to maintain adequate operating stock levels and strategic reserve levels. Additionally, the government plans to buy 51.8 mt of rice during the upcoming fresh rice procurement season, which is anticipated to begin on October 1.

According to sources, the three-month extension would allow the government time to evaluate its grain procurement and storage levels by the end of December before further extending the program.

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