●Extension of the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY)
•Prime Minister Narendra Modi has extended the Pradhan Mantri Gareeb Kalyan Anna Yojana till November-end and said the Central government will spend Rs 90,000 crore more on providing free food to the poor.
•PMGKAY is a part of Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package (PMGKP) to help the poor fight the battle against Covid-19
•The scheme aimed at providing each person who is covered under the National Food Security Act with an additional 5 kg grains (wheat or rice) for free, in addition to the 5 kg of subsidised foodgrain already provided through the Public Distribution System (PDS)
•According to the Union Ministry of Food and Public Distribution, a total of 116.02 lakh metric tonnes (LMT) of food grains have been lifted under the scheme.
In April, 93% of the food grains were distributed targeting 74.05 crore beneficiaries.
•In May, the distribution stood at 91% reaching 72.99 crore beneficiaries
In June 2020, 71% of allocated food grains have been distributed to 56.81 crore beneficiaries so far.
•According to the Central government, the Food Corporation of India has “sufficient stock of food grains”.
•It has a stock of 266.29 LMT rice and 550.31 LMT wheat as on June 28.
•This is excluding the ongoing purchase of wheat and paddy stocks that have not yet reached the godowns.
•Each month, only about 55 LMT of food grains is required for distribution to ration cardholders.
•The food grain provided under the scheme must continue until the impact of Covid-19 pandemic is not reduced. The impact of Covid-19 pandemic is still continuing, many economic activities have not been able to start in their full capacity, and a large number of people are unemployed.
•India has large buffer stocks of food grains that are maintained precisely for meeting emergencies like Covid-19. What is required is a universal Public Distribution System (PDS) to ensure that nobody is excluded.