Prime Minister Narendra Modi government’s PM Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana has been successful in providing free foodgrains to 94 per cent beneficiaries since April 2020. The scheme aimed to provide free ration to nearly 81 crore people in the country amid the disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Adding to the benefits, nearly 60.7 lakh new beneficiaries have also been added under NFSA by states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar during the COVID-19 period, who can avail schemes like PM Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana, said a statement by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution. The government further said that no state or Union Territory has indicated any further demand for coverage under the National Food Security Act, 2013 (NFSA).
The NFSA provides foodgrains through Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS) under two categories — Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) and Priority Households (PHH) — which is nearly two-thirds of the country’s population. It provides coverage for up to 75 per cent of the rural population and up to 50 per cent of the urban population.
As coronavirus cases started to rise in India since March 2020, the Department of Food & Public Distribution has been continuously allocating food grains for over 80 Crore persons. Consequently, the Department in association with Food Corporation of India (FCI) and state agencies has been providing nearly double the quantity of foodgrains under NFSA and PM-GKAY per month, which is around 83 LMT/month.
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The government also cited independent surveys conducted by Dalberg, MicroSave Consulting, etc. in various parts of the country, showing a very high level of satisfaction of nearly 94 per cent among the beneficiaries with regards to the distribution of foodgrains under NFSA and PM-GKAY. Meanwhile, the government’s wheat procurement has touched an all-time record of 38.98 million tonnes so far in 2020-21 marketing year (April-March), with Madhya Pradesh surpassing Punjab as the country’s biggest wheat procuring state.
Also, due to the record procurement of foodgrains under the PM’s free ration scheme, the food credit given by commercial banks significantly shot up. While non-food credit and credit to the priority sector contracted in the financial year so far, the food credit skyrocketed by 72.5 per cent in the same duration, according to RBI’s August bulletin.