Centre has decided to stop the free ration scheme for the poorest of the poor w.e.f. Nov. 30
New Delhi, Nov.6 (Delhi Crown): The Centre must not stop the free ration scheme for the poorest of the poor on November 30, but extend it by a further four months to March 31, 2022, the opposition Congress party said on Saturday.
Congress party spokesperson Pawan Khera, addressing a press conference in Delhi today, said: “The Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan An Yojana under which food grains are distributed to the poorest of the poor should not be stopped in November as has been announced by this government. This should continue till 31st March, 2022.”
“We have all seen the status of hunger in India, according to the latest Hunger Index,” Khera added. (India is ranked 100 in a list of 116 nations suffering from acute hunger).
Union Food Secretary Sudhanshu Pande had said on Friday that the government has no proposal as of now to extend the free ration scheme, that was launched under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana (PMGKAY) as a social net for the poor during Coronavirus pandemic, beyond 30 November.
The PMKGAY was announced in March last year to ameliorate distress caused by Covid-19. Initially, the scheme was launched for the April-June 2020 period, but was later extended till November 30, 2021.
“Since the economy is also reviving and our OMSS (open market sale scheme) disposal of food grains has also been exceptionally good this year. So, there is no proposal to extend PMGKAY,” Pandey said at a press briefing.
Under the PMGKAY, the government has repeatedly said that over 80 crore people are being provided five kilograms of free wheat or rice along with one kilogram of whole Chana to each family per month.
The beneficiaries getting the free ration have been identified under the National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2020. This free ration is given over and above the subsidised grains distributed to them via ration shops.
Earlier in the day, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) city government in Delhi on Saturday decided to extend its free ration scheme by six months till May 2022.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said in a tweet: “Inflation is at its peak. The common man is struggling to manage even two square meals a day. Many have lost their jobs due to COVID-19. Prime Minister Sir, please extend the scheme of supplying free ration to the poor by six months. The Delhi government is extending its free ration scheme for the next six months.”