West Bengal: Mamata Banerjee extends free ration scheme till June 2021 minutes after PM Modi’s address to nation

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Updated: Jun 30, 2020 7:19 PM

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has extended the free ration for poor till June 2021 in the state.

free ration scheme Mamata Banerjee extends free ration scheme in West Bengal till June 2021.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday said that the Trinamool Congress government will provide free ration to the poor till June 2021. The announcement came shortly after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that the Centre’s Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana will run till November-end.

“I am extending free ration for the poor till June 2021,” Mamata told reporters in Kolkata minutes after the PM’s address to the nation.

“The Centre’s ration policy should be to provide ration to each and every one of the 130 crore population of the country,” she said.

PM Modi today announced extension of the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) till after Diwali and Chhath Puja. Under this scheme, the Centre provides free ration to the poor. The scheme covers 80 crore people across the country.

The scheme was initially rolled out for three months to help ease the burden of the poor during the lockdown.

Notably, West Bengal is scheduled to go to polls in April-May next year. Mamata’s extension will last well after the election ends. The state will go to polls in 2021 where the BJP has made deep inroads and poses a potent threat to Mamata. The BJP projects itself as an alternative to the TMC. The BJP had won 18 seats, only 4 less than the TMC’s tally in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

In his address today, PM Modi also said that the government was working on a “one nation, one ration card” initiative. The extension of the PMGKAY will cost the government Rs 90,000 crore more.

The Centre provides 5 kg wheat or rice and 1 kg pulses every month free of cost to the poor under the scheme.

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