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Modi's poll gifts: Free ration extended, bill to repeal farm laws approved

PMGKAY, which was to end on November 30, extended till March 2022

narendra modi PM Narendra Modi speaking at The Sydney Dialogue | Via Twitter

The Union cabinet, with an eye on upcoming assembly elections, today approved the bill to repeal the three contentious laws, and also extended the free ration scheme for the poor by another four months.

The bill will now be tabled in the Winter Session of Parliament. “The cabinet has completed the formalities to repeal the three farm Laws. In the upcoming session of Parliament, it will be our priority to take back these three laws,” Union Minister Anurag Thakur said during the press conference on cabinet decisions.

Thakur also announced that the Centre will extend Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana for another four months, till March 2022. The government officials had earlier said the scheme would not continue beyond its fourth phase tenure, which ends on November 30.

The Phase V of PMGKAY scheme from December 2021 till March 2022, would entail an estimated additional food subsidy of Rs 53,344.52 crore. The scheme was first announced by Modi last year, following the pandemic-induced lockdown. The scheme entailed distribution of additional free-of-cost foodgrains (rice/wheat) to about 80 crore National Food Security Act (NFSA) beneficiaries at 5kg per person per month. It was to be over and above the regular monthly NFSA foodgrains.

The total outgo in terms of food-grains for PMGKAY Phase V is likely to be about 163 LMT. So far, under the PM-GKAY (phase I to IV), the department had allocated a total of almost 600 LMT foodgrains to the states/UTs equivalent to about Rs 2.07 lakh crore in food subsidy.

The distribution under PMGKAY-IV is presently ongoing, and as per the reports available from states/UTs so far, 93.8 per cent foodgrains have been distributed.

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