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3 States and 4 Opposition Leaders Seek to Re-distribute Free Grains to the Poor as Covid Cases Rise | India News

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NEW DELHI: Amid a surge in Covid-19 cases across the country, three states of Rajasthan, Kerala and Uttrakhand have urged the center to restart the distribution of free food grains to 81 million million poor people under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Ann Yojana (PMGKAY). Four MPs, including NCP chief and former agriculture minister Sharad Pawar, have also sought a repeat of the plan that was launched last year during the first wave of the pandemic.
Early Thursday, responding to a question from journalists, the Union’s food secretary Sudhanshu Pandey said that 3-4 states and public representatives have made specific requests to the Center to consider that type of scheme (PMGKAY) implemented the year past.
Under PMGKAY, the Center distributed 5 kg of rice or wheat per person and 1 kg of legumes per family to all those covered by the National Food Safety Law. This covered the period from April to November 2020 and was a great summary for poor families across the country.
The sources said that currently no discussion has started on the suggestions from the three states, Pawar and TMC lawmaker Saugata Roy, left-wing party MPs Binoy Vishwam and Elamaram Kareem. They added that there are different suggestions. While some have sought to repeat the scheme for 2-3 months, some have suggested that this should be implemented for six months to a year. Officials from the Food Corporation of India said similar requests have come in from time to time.
The FCI has a huge surplus stock, almost two and a half times what the government needs to meet the requirements of the NFSA and other welfare plans. In addition, the government is on track for a record acquisition of 42.73 million tonnes of wheat this year, which Pandey said will be a record. So far, 6.47 million tonnes of wheat have been bought in one month since the acquisitions began.
He also said that MSP’s direct profit transfer (DBT) to farmers’ accounts has been successful in Punjab. Even the Arahtiyas in Punjab, who receive a 2.5% commission for their service, receive their fees directly into their accounts. “We are getting good support from the state government and the Arahtiyas,” said Pandey.

Times of India

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