Pradhan Mantri Gaurib Kalyan Yajana (PMGKY): A worker distributes food to the poor under Pradhan Manntri Garib Kala Yojana (PMTGIKY), New Delhi. File Photo
The Pradhan Mantri Karib Kalyan Ann Yojana (PMGKAY) is the central government’s integrated food security program. It provides free foodgrains to more than 80 million poor people starting in January 1.
This comes as Opposition has been critical of the government’s decision to stop free monthly distributionof 5 kilograms foodgrains for poor people, under a program also known as PMGKAY.
This program, which was initiated in response to the coronavirus pandemic of April 2020, ended December last year.
The government subsumed PMGKAY in two existing food subsidies schemes last month and the new integrated food security program was created.
The food ministry released a statement stating that the new scheme was named Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Ann Yojana, (PMGKAY).
In order to ensure the welfare of beneficiaries and to preserve uniformity across states, the PMGKAY will provide free foodgrains to poor beneficiaries for the year 2023 in accordance with the entitlement under NFSA.
The NFSA provides that foodgrains are entitled per person per month at 5 kg for priority households and 35 kg per family for Antodaya Anna Yojna families (AAY).
The NFSA beneficiaries received their foodgrain entitlement at a subsidised rate, Rs1, Rs2, and Rs3 per kilogram for wheat, rice, and coarse cereals. This was until December 2022. They will now get it free of charge this year.
The ministry claims that necessary steps have been taken to ensure smooth implementation of PMGKAY in this field. For smooth implementation of the new scheme, officials from the ministry and the state-run Food Corporation of India are in regular contact with state government officials.
In 2023, the Central Government will spend over Rs2 lakh crore on food subsidies under the NFSA and other welfare programs to alleviate the financial burden of the poor.