The costs of the scheme during May-June have been pegged at Rs 26,602 crore if the entire allocation of 80 lakh tonne is lifted. So far, nearly 97% of the allotted grains have been lifted, the food ministry said in a statement.
States have lifted 97% of the grains allocated under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) for May and June by Monday, according to the union ministry for food and public distribution. Under the scheme, the Centre provides free food grains to all the 80 crore beneficiaries under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) over and above their regular entitlement at 5 kg per person per month.
The costs of the scheme during May-June have been pegged at Rs 26,602 crore if the entire allocation of 80 lakh tonne is lifted. So far, nearly 97% of the allotted grains have been lifted, the food ministry said in a statement. Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Rajasthan are among 13 states and union territories which are yet to lift the entire food grains allocated to them
The Cabinet last week approved extension of the free food grains distribution under PMGKAY for another five months till end of November. The scheme would now entail a total expenditure of about Rs 94,000 crore for the seven-month period.
Out of 204 lakh tonne of grains required for distribution during July-November, the Centre has allocated about 199 lakh tonne. Lifting under the July-November quota has started by eight states — Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Odisha, Telangana and Tripura and over one lakh tonne of food grains have been lifted as of June 28.
As many as 23 states and union territories including Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Telangana and West Bengal have lifted their full allocation for May-June. Food Corporation of India (FCI) is transporting food grains all across the country to ensure smooth supply as a total 2,608 food grain rakes have been loaded with an average 45 rakes per day since May 1.
The Central Pool stocks maintained by FCI has 591 lakh tonne of wheat and 295 lakh tonne of rice, food ministry said.
Meanwhile, the food ministry has also decided to expedite the fortification of rice by facilitating increase in capacity from current 15,000 tonne to 3.5 lakh tonne. A programme has been launched to incentivize and create awareness among rice millers. The ministry has requested state governments to connect rice millers with banks in respect of various provisions of Atma Nirbhar Bharat Package for MSME sector as currently there is no separate scheme available for them.
Fortification of rice is a cost-effective and complementary strategy to increase vitamin and mineral content in diets and a step towards nutritional security and to fight anaemia and malnutrition in the country. In India, 58.5% of young children aged between 6months and 5 years, 53% of women within the reproductive age group and 22.7% of all men aged 15-49 years suffer from anaemia.
Niti Aayog had earlier recommended mandatory fortification of staples and to incorporate fortified foodgrains in government programmes under NFSA, ICDS, Mid-day Meal Scheme (MDM). The food safety regulator Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has also proposed to the Department of Expenditure that rice fortification should be made mandatory from January 1, 2024.
A pilot scheme on “Fortification of Rice” is currently implemented in Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Chhattisgarh and Uttar Pradesh and NFSA beneficiaries are receiving these grains.