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Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY)
In a groundbreaking announcement, Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared the extension of the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) for the next five years. This initiative, which has been providing essential food grains at highly subsidized rates to over 80 crore beneficiaries since its launch in April 2020, will continue to be a lifeline for the nation’s underprivileged.
Why PM Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) is in the News?
On November 4, Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a significant announcement, revealing that the Central government would extend the scheme that offers free ration to 80 crore impoverished citizens for the next five years. PM Modi made this announcement during a public rally in Durg, Chhattisgarh, just ahead of the State Assembly Elections.
This extension of the free ration scheme for the poor has captured the nation’s attention, and it is seen as a crucial political move by the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government in the lead-up to the General Elections in India 2024.
What is PM Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY)?
Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) is a cornerstone of the Atmanirbhar Bharat vision presented by PM Modi. It aims to provide free food grains every month to those in need. Under this scheme, the Central government offers 5kg of free food grains each month to underprivileged citizens, along with subsidized ration costing ₹2-3 per kilogram as provided under the National Food Security Act (NFSA). These benefits are extended to families falling under the Public Distribution System (PDS), and the quantity of food grains provided can vary based on the beneficiary category.
The Journey of PM Garib Kalyan Yojana PMGKAY
The Food Security Scheme, known as Khadya Suraksha Yojana or Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana, was launched in April 2020 and was last extended in February 2023. This program has seen various phases of operation, with Phase-I running from April to June 2020, Phase-II from July to November 2020, and Phase III from May to June 2021. Phase IV operated from July to November 2021, and the Phase V continues from December 2021 until March 2022.
In the latest phase, the government has integrated the PMGKAY scheme with the provisions of the NFSA Act. Under NFSA provisions, beneficiaries from priority households receive 5kg of food grains per person per month, while Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) families receive 35kg per family per month, all at subsidized prices ranging from ₹1 to ₹3 per kilogram for various types of food grains, including rice, wheat, and coarse cereals.
You can read more on PM Garib Kalyan Yojana on the official website of GoI : PM GKY
Eligibility for Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY)
As per the official website, families belonging to Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) and Priority Households (PHH) categories are eligible for the PMGKAY scheme. PHH beneficiaries are identified by State Governments/Union Territory Administrations based on their criteria, while AAY families are identified by States/UTs according to criteria prescribed by the Central Government.
Additionally, primitive tribal households, landless agricultural laborers, marginal farmers, rural artisans/craftsmen (such as potters and tanners), slum dwellers, and individuals earning their livelihood daily in the informal sector (such as porters, coolies, rickshaw pullers, and hand cart pullers) in both rural and urban areas are also eligible for the scheme. All citizens belonging to Below Poverty Line (BPL) families are eligible for this vital support.
The Impact of PM Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY)
Since its inception in 2020, PMGKAY has been a game-changer for millions of Indians who struggle to make ends meet. By providing them with affordable and sometimes free essential food grains, the government has significantly alleviated food insecurity, especially during challenging times like the COVID-19 pandemic.
The extension of this scheme for another five years comes as a sigh of relief for the marginalized and underprivileged, assuring them of continued support in accessing one of the most fundamental human needs—food.
PM Modi’s announcement to extend PM Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana is not just a welfare initiative but also carries political weight. With the 2024 General Elections on the horizon, this move by the government is strategic. It underscores their commitment to the welfare of the economically vulnerable sections of society, potentially influencing electoral outcomes.
The financial commitment behind PMGKAY is substantial. According to a report by the Press Information Bureau (PIB), the total expenditure for food subsidy, intra-state transportation, and grain handling has reached a staggering ₹3.91 lakh crore across five phases of the scheme. This demonstrates the government’s substantial investment in ensuring that the nation’s most vulnerable citizens have access to food.
The extension of Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) for another five years is not only a critical welfare measure but also a strategic political move. It underscores the government’s commitment to addressing the needs of the economically vulnerable and positions them as champions of the people. The economic impact of this initiative is substantial, with billions of rupees invested to ensure that food reaches those in need. Overall, this extension brings hope and sustenance to millions of underprivileged individuals across India, reinforcing the government’s commitment to food security and the welfare of its citizens.