Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced the extension of the key central scheme to help the poor during the coronavirus crisis.
“PM Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) will be extended till the end of November in which free ration will be provided to the poor. The extension will cost over Rs 90 thousand crore,” Modi said in his address to the nation on Tuesday.
The prime minister said that 80 crore people will get free ration for five more months. He also highlighted the work done by the Centre since the lockdown came into force.
“Under the PMGKAY, we announced a package of Rs 1.75 lakh crore. In the last three months, Rs 31,000 crore have been deposited in the bank accounts of 20 crore poor families. Also, Rs 18,000 crore deposited in bank accounts of more than nine crore farmers,” PM Modi said.
His short address, sixth since the pandemic began in March, entirely focussed on India’s coronavirus battle and the steps the government took to minimise the impact of the crisis.
PM Modi also reiterated the fact that India has a low fatality rate as compared to the world, a fact which he attributed to the government’s decision to impose an early lockdown.
He also hailed farmers and honest tax payers for their contribution in making the welfare scheme successful.
PMGKAY is a Rs 1.7-lakh crore financial package announced by the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to minimise the impact of lockdown on economy and poor.
The existing National Food Security Act provides 5kg of foodgrain per person monthly at a subsidised rate of Rs 2-3 per kg to the country’s poor. Under the PMGKY, the ration quota was enhanced by another 5 kg for free for the next three months in March.
The lockdown announced on March 24 shuttered shops, factories, and construction sites, rendering millions of migrant workers jobless.