Recently, the Union Cabinet has approved the extension for the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY-Phase V) for a period of another 4 months i.e. December 2021 till March 2022.
- PMGKAY is a part of Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package (PMGKP) to help the poor fight the battle against Covid-19.
- Its nodal Ministry is the Ministry of Finance.
- It was initially announced for a three month period (April, May and June 2020), covering 80 crore ration cardholders. Later it was extended till November 2020.
- Phase-I and Phase-II of this scheme was operational from April to June, 2020 and July to November, 2020 respectively.
- Phase-III of the scheme was operational from May to June, 2021.
- Phase-IV of the scheme is currently operational for July-November, 2021 months.
- The scheme aimed at providing each person who is covered under the NFSA (National Food Security Act 2013) with an additional 5 kg grains (wheat or rice) for free, in addition to the 5 kg of subsidised foodgrain already provided through the Public Distribution System (PDS).
- The new version of the PMGKAY lacks one of its important components which was there in 2020 PMGKAY i:e free-of-cost 1 kg pulses per month to each household covered under the NFSA.
- The government will be incurring an expenditure of nearly Rs.2.60 lakh Crore in PMGKAY Phase I- V.
- PMGKAY-V will entail an estimated additional food subsidy of Rs. 53344.52 Crore.
- Under the PMGKAY (phase 1 to 4), a total of almost 600 lakh Metric Tonnes (LMT) foodgrains has been allocated to the states/UTs, equivalent to about Rs 2.07 lakh crore in food subsidy.
- The distribution under PMGKAY 4 is presently ongoing, and as per the reports available from states/UTs so far, 93.8 % food grains have been lifted.
- It is significant in a view of daily wagers and informal sector entrepreneurs who lost their job in the wake of Covid-19 induced Lockdown.
- A key issue is that the beneficiaries of the NFSA are based on the last census (2011). The number of food-insecure people has increased since then and they remain uncovered.
SOURCE: THE HINDU,THE ECONOMIC TIMES,MINT