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150 million people to benefit: UP govt extends free ration scheme by 3 more months

The free ration scheme was an important narrative in the just-concluded assembly elections in the state and is said to have played a crucial role in the BJP’s victory in the state.

Ration shops
Talking to FE, additional food commissioner Anil Dubey said that the free ration scheme will be extended to all the 36.2 million ration card holders. (Representational image)

In the first major decision of the Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh, the state cabinet on Saturday decided to extend the free ration scheme to 150 million people of the state by three more months till 30 June, 2022.

Addressing a press conference immediately after the cabinet meeting, the chief minister said that his government has decided to extend the free ration scheme, that was supposed to end in March, till June 30.

The Centre had launched Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY) in April 2020 in the wake of the Covid-19 lockdown, in which beneficiaries were provided 5 kg of wheat/rice per unit (family member) per month through the Public Distribution System (PDS). The scheme continued till November 2021, after which the Uttar Pradesh government decided to continue with the scheme on its own, especially in view of the impending elections. In addition, the state government also decided to provide 1 kg of whole chana, 1 litre of edible oil and 1 kg of salt once every month to the beneficiaries.

The free ration scheme was an important narrative in the just-concluded assembly elections in the state and is said to have played a crucial role in the BJP’s victory in the state.

Talking to FE, additional food commissioner Anil Dubey said that the free ration scheme will be extended to all the 36.2 million ration card holders.

“Approximately 150 million beneficiaries will continue to get free foodgrains along with chana, oil and salt till June,” he said, adding that the approximate cost of the programme till June would be `4,000 crore.

Of the 36.2 million crore ration card holders in UP, 31.9 million are priority household beneficiaries, while 4.1 million fall in the Antodaya category.

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