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    10 states seek extension of free grains scheme

    Synopsis

    The states, including Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Punjab and Tamil Nadu, have asked the food ministry to extend the scheme that provides free grains to 80 million people from April to June this year. Under the scheme, every person is given 5 kg wheat or rice per month, while 1 kg of pulses per household are given under National Food Security Act (NFSA).

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    NEW DELHI: Ten states have asked the central government to extend the scheme of free grains and pulses for the poor under the PM Garib Kalyan Ann Yojana (PMGKAY).

    The states, including Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Punjab and Tamil Nadu, have asked the food ministry to extend the scheme that provides free grains to 80 million people from April to June this year. Under the scheme, every person is given 5 kg wheat or rice per month, while 1 kg of pulses per household are given under National Food Security Act (NFSA).

    Food minister Ram Vilas Paswan said that the extension of this scheme can be decided by the cabinet.

    “We have forwarded the request to Prime Minister’s Office along with the current status of scheme. Now cabinet will decide on this,” he said.

    The government had also launched Atmanirbhar Bharat scheme last month, which provides free 5 kg rice or wheat per month to 80 million migrants and poor who are not covered under NFSA for two months till this month. This scheme provides 1 kg of free chana to 20 million poor families.

    Paswan said that the government is also targeting to roll out nationwide ‘one nation-one ration card’ scheme by March 31, 2021. This will help people specially migrants to get subsidised food grains from any fair price shop across the country on production of ration card irrespective of state where they are registered. The ration cards will be Aadhaar linked and would be connected to central depository.

    “So far, 20 states and union territories have implemented this scheme. Only 14 are left, out of which three states—Uttarakhand, Manipur and Nagaland —will join the cluster on August 1, 2020.The remaining states would be on board by March 2021.

    “Most of the states have promised to complete connectivity till September. We will review the status in October. West Bengal has complained about connectivity issues, which we will be addressing with department of information technology,” said a senior food ministry official.

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