Highlights

  • PMGKAY extended to provide free food grains for 81 crore people.
  • Scheme cost approx. ₹11.8 lakh crore, effective from January 2024.

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Union cabinet extends PMGKAY: Free ration scheme for 81 crore till 2028

Union Minister Anurag Thakur unveiled the proposal, highlighting its estimated ₹11.8 lakh crore financial impact on the exchequer.

Union cabinet extends PMGKAY: Free ration scheme for 81 crore till 2028

The Union Cabinet has given its nod to an extensive extension of the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY). This decision marks a significant move aimed at providing free food grains to approximately 81 crore impoverished individuals across the nation for an additional five years, extending the scheme until December 2028.

The proposal, announced by Union Minister Anurag Thakur following the Cabinet briefing, outlined the financial implications of approximately ₹11.8 lakh crore for the exchequer. This extended initiative will come into effect from January 1, 2024, with the Cabinet's unanimous agreement during their meeting held on November 28.

Minister Thakur assured that the government is well-prepared to handle any fiscal challenges arising from the extended duration of the scheme. Addressing concerns regarding inflated food subsidy bills, Thakur emphasized the government's assurance of sufficient funds, affirming that budget constraints would not impede the initiative.

The PMGKAY, initially introduced in April 2020 as a response to support the economically challenged during the COVID-19 pandemic, was later extended beyond its initial timeline. This scheme entails the allocation of 5 kilograms of food grains per month to families in need.

Last December, the government merged the PMGKAY, which distributed additional free food grains, with the National Food Security Act (NFSA). NFSA encompasses rural and urban populations, with coverage including the Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) and priority households, accounting for 75% and 50% respectively.


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