UPDATED: April 23, 2021 16:54 IST
The central government will be providing free food grain to nearly 80 crore people for the next two months (May and June), Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced on Friday. This will be facilitated through the PM Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana.
Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana is a food security welfare scheme announced by the Government of India in March 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic in India. The program is operated by the Department of Food and Public Distribution under the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution.
The scheme aims to feed the poorest citizens of India by providing food grain through the Public Distribution System, to all the priority households (ration cardholders and those identified by the Antyodaya Anna Yojana scheme). PMGKAY provides 5 kg of rice or wheat (according to regional dietary preferences) per person and 1 kg of dal to each family holding a ration card. The scale of this welfare scheme makes it the largest food security program in the world.
The scheme has been affected by widespread corruption and failure to distribute grain to the intended recipients. Two states failed to distribute any grain, and 11 distributed less than 1%.
According to the plan, the Centre will be providing 5 kg free food grain to the beneficiaries. The central government said it will be spending more than Rs 26,000 crore on this.
PM Narendra Modi stressed that it is important for the poor to get nutritional support at a time when the country is facing the second wave of Covid-19.
Last year too, the government had provided free food grain to the poor under the PM Garib Kalyan Ann Yojana as part of its Covid relief response.