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PMGKAY: Govt Unveils 5-Year Plan to Provide Free Food Grains to 81.35 Crore Beneficiaries

The historic decision to provide free foodgrain to beneficiaries reflects the dedication and commitment of Prime Minister Narendra Modi toward fortifying food and nutrition security in India.

Shivam Dwivedi
PMGKAY: Govt Unveils 5-Year Plan to Provide Free Food Grains to 81.35 Crore Beneficiaries (Photo Source: Pexels)
PMGKAY: Govt Unveils 5-Year Plan to Provide Free Food Grains to 81.35 Crore Beneficiaries (Photo Source: Pexels)

In a historic move, the Cabinet led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced a groundbreaking decision to provide free food grains to approximately 81.35 crore beneficiaries over the next five years under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY). This initiative, set to commence on January 1, 2024, is touted as one of the world's largest social welfare schemes, with an estimated cost of Rs. 11.80 lakh crore.

The PMGKAY aims to ensure food and nutrition security for a staggering 81.35 crore individuals, showcasing the government's commitment to efficient and targeted welfare. The move comes as part of a broader strategy to fulfill the basic food and nutrition requirements of the population during Amrit Kaal, contributing significantly to the nation's aspirations for development.

Under the PMGKAY, beneficiaries will receive free food grains, including rice, wheat, and coarse grains/millets, for five years. This substantial effort is expected to fortify food security and alleviate financial hardships for the poor and vulnerable sections of society. The distribution will be carried out uniformly across all states and union territories through a network of over 5 lakh Fair Price Shops, featuring a common logo.

To enhance ease of living, the initiative incorporates the One Nation One Ration Card (ONORC), allowing beneficiaries to collect food grains free of cost from any fair price shop in the country. This move is particularly advantageous for migrants, promoting both intra and inter-state portability of entitlements as part of the Digital India initiative. The provision of free food grains aims to ensure the seamless implementation of portability under ONORC nationwide.

The financial commitment for the distribution of food grains under PMGKAY over the next five years is estimated at Rs. 11.80 lakh crore. This substantial investment underscores the government's dedication to providing free food grains to the targeted population, a move that aligns with Prime Minister Modi's long-term vision for addressing national food and nutrition security.

The initiative is poised to mitigate financial hardships for the affected segments of society sustainably, while ensuring a long-term pricing strategy with zero cost to beneficiaries. For instance, an Antyodaya family's monthly savings will be substantial, as the economic cost of 35 kg rice amounts to Rs. 1371 and 35 kg wheat to Rs. 946, both of which will be borne by the Government of India under PMGKAY.

The commitment of the Government of India to ensuring a dignified life for its citizens by providing access to food and nutritional security is evident in the PMGKAY. The scheme is set to benefit 81.35 crore individuals and will play a pivotal role in strengthening food security in terms of accessibility, affordability, and availability of food grains for the targeted population across all states.

The PMGKAY stands as a testament to the government's unwavering commitment to the welfare of its citizens and its vision for an inclusive and prosperous nation.

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