Under the scheme, 5 kgs of wheat or rice and 1 kg of pulses per month will be given free of cost to the poor.
In his televised address, PM emphasized that provision of food to those in need during lockdown has been the foremost priority of the government. Hence, PM Garib Kalyan Yojana with package of Rs 1.75 lakh crore was rolled out as soon as the country went into lockdown to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. Government has transferred Rs 31,000 crore to 20 crore poor families under direct benefit transfer and Rs 18,000 crore has been given to nine crore farmers.
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Modi also noted that the number of people who were provided free ration under the scheme is several times the population of many large nations. Further, the upcoming rainy season followed by back to back festivals would lead to an increase in expenditure by the households. Hence, the scheme was extended for a further period of five months.
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“Keeping all these things in mind, it has been decided to extend Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana up to Diwali and Chhath Puja till the November end,” Modi said on the eve of the start of ‘Unlock-2’ for a graded exit from the national lockdown that was imposed on March 25.
The extension of the scheme will cost more than Rs 90,000 crore to the government. In total, the Centre will spend almost Rs 1.5 lakh crore towards the scheme if the last three months expenditure on account of the free ration scheme is also added.
The Union government, he added, is also spending Rs 50,000 crore for providing employment to people in rural India.
Modi also applauded the hard-working farmers and honest tax payers for making it possible for the government to procure and distribute free foodgrains.
“On behalf of all the poor of the country, I express my heartfelt gratitude to all the taxpayers and farmers, and also salute them. In the coming days, we will further strengthen our efforts and continuously work to empower the poor, downtrodden and deprived sections of society. While taking all the precautions, we will further expand the economic activities,” Modi said.
He further said that timely lockdown to contain coronavirus and other decisions saved many lives, but added that since “Unlock 1” has begun, people have shown negligence.
He said in comparison to other countries across the globe, India has done well in dealing with the pandemic.
(With PTI inputs)
In Video:PM Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana extended till November: PM Narendra Modi