Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Food Availability For All | India stands with the poorest and vulnerable

True development is that which caters to the poorest of the poor. In ensuring that the fruits of development reach the poor even during the COVID scenario, the government has worked with great speed and scale.

Despite the pandemic, Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana has managed to serve the requirements of the people across the country.

Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana: The Saviour

The Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana is a comprehensive relief package of Rs 1.70 lakh crores that have been launched to help the people fight the battle against COVID-19. It was announced in March 2020, to reach out to the poorest of the poor, with food and money in their hands, so that they do not face difficulties in buying essential supplies and meeting their important requirements.

Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package – Ready to Serve in Tough Times

Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package provides an Insurance scheme for health workers fighting COVID-19 in Government Hospitals and Health Care Centres

Under the Special Insurance Scheme, Safai karamcharis, Ward-boys, Nurses, ASHA workers, Paramedics, Technicians, Doctors and Specialists and other health workers have been covered. Under the scheme, if any health professional, while treating Covid-19 patients, meets with some accident, then he/she would be compensated with an amount of Rs 50 lakh. Also, approximately 22 lakh health workers have been provided insurance cover to fight this pandemic.

PM Garib Kalyan Ann (अन्न) Yojana – Access to Food

In 2020, the Government of India had announced the “Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana” for all beneficiaries covered under the National Food Security Act, 2013. Around 80 crore NFSA beneficiaries were allocated an additional 5 kg of foodgrains, free of cost for a period of 8 months. This has ensured food security of poor/vulnerable beneficiaries/households in the wake of economic disruptions caused by the pandemic.

In 2021, owing to the ongoing economic disruptions across the country, the government had announced the implementation of the “Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana” for a period of two months at an estimated expenditure of about Rs. 26,602 crore. For this purpose, a total allocation of over 79 lakh metric tonnes of foodgrains was also done by the government.

In a considerate move to help out the needy, the government has also approved the extension of Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan AnnaYojana, from July 2021 up to November 2021. An additional allocation of 5 kg of foodgrains including wheat or rice will be provided to around 80 crore National Food Security Act beneficiaries with an estimated financial implication of up to Rs. 67,266 crore. Further, the foodgrains will be provided free of cost and include a total quantity of around 204 LMT ( lakh metric tonnes) of foodgrains for a period of 5 months

Moreover, this additional free of cost allocation of food grains will be over and above the regular monthly food grains allocated for beneficiaries covered under the National Food Security Act. Besides, the entire cost of this additional allocation under PM-GKAY, including the expenditure on intrastate transportation, dealers’ margin etc., will be borne by the Government of India without any sharing by States/UTs.

The package also included certain other measures like providing an ex-gratia of Rs 500 to a total of 20.40 crores Jan Dhan women account-holders, increase in MNREGA wage to Rs 202 a day from Rs 182 to benefit 13.62 crore families, an ex-gratia of Rs 1,000 to 3 crore poor senior citizen, poor widows and poor disabled and providing gas cylinders free of cost to 8 crore poor families.

During these unprecedented health crises, the government has dedicatedly performed its duties to ensure food accessibility and availability across the country.

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