New Delhi, Nov, 29: The union cabinet on Wednesday decided that the Central government will provide free food grains to about 81.35 crore beneficiaries under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) for a period of five years with effect from 1st January, 2024.
“This is a historic decision that places PMGKAY amongst the World’s biggest social welfare schemes aimed at ensuring food and nutrition security for 81.35 crore persons, at an estimated cost of Rs. 11.80 lakh crore over a 5 year period,” said the Cabinet release.
The approximate food subsidy for five years for distribution of food grains under PMGKAY will be to the tune of Rs. 11.80 lakh crore. Thus, the Centre will spend approx. Rs. 11.80 lakh crore during the period of next five years as food subsidy under PMGKAY, to provide free food grains to the targeted population, it added.
As an example, the economic cost of 35 kg rice for an Antyodaya family comes to Rs. 1371, while the cost of 35 kg wheat comes to Rs. 946, which is being borne by GOI under PMGKAY, and the foodgrains are provided completely free to the families. Thus, the monthly savings of ration card holders are significant, on account of the free foodgrains.
“Free food grains (rice , wheat and coarse grains/millets) under PMGKAY for 5 years from 1.1.2024 will strengthen food security and mitigate any financial hardship of the poor and vulnerable sections of the population. It would provide Nation-wide uniformity in delivery of food grains free of cost in all States/UTs through a network of over 5 lakh Fair Price Shops under a common logo,” Cabinet note said.