Free ration scheme for poor extended till November end: PM

New Delhi (NVI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi today announced the extension of Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana till the end of November that will help over 80 crore people to get free ration.

In his address to the nation on the last day of Unlock-1, the Prime Minister said the provision of food to those in need during lockdown has been the foremost priority of the country.

The PM Garib Kalyan Yojana was launched as soon as the lockdown was announced in March. Under the scheme, a package of Rs 1.75 lakh crore was announced for the poor.

He said the extension of the Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana will cost Rs 90,000 crore more. “If we add the last three months’ expenses in it, then it amounts to be around 1.5 lakh crore,” he added.

Under the flagship scheme launched amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the poor families can avail 5 kgs of rice or wheat per month. The PM today said that now such families can avail 1 kg pulses to also, in addition to 5 kgs grains. In his address, the PM said that the enormity of this welfare measure for poor people has made the entire world take notice.

He said that with the commencement of the rainy season, most of the work takes place in the agriculture sector. He said that keeping in mind that requirements as well as expenditure increase during the time of upcoming festivals, the government has decided to extend scheme till Deepawali and Chhath Puja.

Apart from that, the PM noted that in the last three months, Rs 31,000 crore has been transferred in the Jan Dhan accounts of almost 20 crore poor families. Besides, Rs 18,000 crore has been transferred to the bank accounts of more than 9 crore farmers. Rs 50,000 crore is being spent on PM Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyaan, which has been started to provide employment opportunities, he said.

The PM also underlined that the country is moving towards the institution of ‘one nation, one ration card’, which will be of immense benefit to the poor migrants who travel to other states in search of work.

He also urged the people to stay safe during Unlock 2 that will be in place from July 1 to 31. “Irresponsible and negligent behavior has been on the rise during Unlock 1,” he said, adding that earlier people were more careful about usage of mask, washing hands for more than 20 seconds several times during the day and maintaining ‘do gazdoori’.

The Prime Minister said that regulations need to be followed with the same seriousness as during Lockdown, especially in the Containment Zones.

However, the Prime Minister didn’t mention anything about the present India-China face-off over border row. The Corps Commanders of India and China are holding a meeting a Chushul today, as part of efforts to de-escalate the situation at the Line of Actual Control (LAC). This is the third meeting between the top military commanders from both sides, the earlier one being on June 6 and 22.

-ARK