Oppn targets Centre on ‘discontinuation’ of PMGKAY


The opposition on Tuesday attacked the Union government over “discontinuation” of PMGKAY, saying the scheme should at least continue till March 2022 as the country ranked 101 in the 2021 Global Hunger Index and was facing unemployment issues.

The opposition’s criticism came after Food Secretary Sudhanshu Pandey’s November 5 statement that as of now, the Centre has no proposal to extend distribution of free ration under the PMGKAY beyond November 30.

Addressing a press conference, Congress spokesperson Pawan Khera said: “The Prime Minister Garib Kalyan Ann Yojana (PMGKAY), under which food grains are distributed to the poorest of the poor should not be stopped in November as has been announced by the government. It should continue till March 31, 2022 as we have all seen the status of hunger in the country cited by the latest Hunger Index.”

On November 6, CPI-M General Secretary Sitaram Yechury tweeted: “As India slides down further on the Global Hunger Index, even this meagre inadequate scheme is being scrapped. Criminal. Modi govt is duty-bound to ensure cash transfers and food kits to the needy. This is public money and people need it now.”

The scheme was announced in March 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The scheme, run by the Department of Food and Public Distribution, aims to feed the poorest citizens of the country by providing grain through the Public Distribution System, to all the priority households.

It provides 5 kg of rice or wheat per person and 1 kg of dal to each family holding a ration card.

According to the government, since the onset of the second wave of the pandemic, PMGKAY was once again rolled-out for a period of two months (May and June 2021) and was further extended for a period of five months (July to November 2021).

About 80 crore beneficiaries in the country were covered under the National Food Security Act (NFSA).–IANS