Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Cong questions Centre’s PMGKAY scheme extension for 1-yr contradicting PM’s announcement

A day after the Centre said that it has extended the PMGKAY scheme for one year, the Congress on Thursday slammed the government saying that Prime Minister Narendra Modi on November 4 announced its extension for five years, and asked ‘what was really happening and why was the prime minister’s announcement not reflected in his government’s press release’.

The Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution in a statement on Wednesday said that the Central government, in order to remove the financial burden of the poor beneficiaries and to ensure nationwide uniformity and effective implementation of the National Food Security Act (2013), is providing foodgrains free of cost to Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) households and Priority Households (PHH) beneficiaries under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY), for a period of one year beginning from January 1, 2023.

Taking a swipe at the government, Congress General Secretary (Communication) Jairam Ramesh in a post on X said: “During the Chhattisgarh election campaign on November 4, the Prime Minister announced that the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) – a rebranding of the National Food Security Act, 2013 – is being extended for another 5 years.”

“But last evening, an official press release from the Modi government mentions that PMGKAY has been extended for the year beginning Jan 1, 2023 with absolutely no reference to an extension as announced by the Prime Minister,” he said.

“So what is really happening? Why is the Prime Minister’s announcement not reflected in his government’s press note?” the Congress leader wondered.

On November 4, the Prime Minister while addressing a public meeting in Chhattisgarh’s Durg said that the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana, the Centre’s free ration scheme that aids 80 crore poor, will be extended for five more years.

“I have decided that the BJP government will extend the scheme of providing free rations to 80 crore poor people in the country for the next five years. Your love and blessings always give me the strength to make sacred decisions,” PM Modi said at a public meeting in Chhattisgarh’s Durg.

The Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY), which was to end on December 31, 2023, will now continue till December 2028.

He reiterated this at another BJP rally in Ratlam, Madhya Pradesh later in the day on November 4.

The scheme was launched during Covid pandemic. In December, 2022, it was clubbed with the National Food Security Act (NFSA) scheme and extended for one year.

The Congress has been critical of the government over the issues of unemployment, inflation and growing inequality in income of the people.

The Congress has on a number of occasions targeted the BJP-led government at the Centre for its failure to control inflation and growing inequality of wealth across the country.

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