Deepak Shenoy, Founder and CEO of portfolio management service Capitalmind, courted controversy when he questioned the government’s move to extend the Centre’s free ration scheme for three months till December 31 that will incur Rs 44,000 crore.
Ahead of assembly elections in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh, the government on Wednesday extended its programme to provide free rations to the poor at a cost of Rs 44,762 crore.
“This is a bad decision. Rationed cheap food is available. There is no need to give free food, Covid is over,” Shenoy responded on a tweet by BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari, who sincerely thanked “the Union Cabinet and Central Govt for extending the free ration scheme, provided under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) for 3 months”.
Shenoy added that the government will be spending “another Rs 44,000 crore for what is unnecessary”.
The government extended the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana for a period of three months, from October 1 till December 31.
The scheme was coming to an end on September 30, after it had been extended in March 2022 for a period of six months more.
A total of 122 lakh metric tonnes of food grains would be distributed during this period, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Anurag Thakur told mediapersons.
More than 80 crore beneficiaries would benefit from the allocation of food grains till December 2022, official sources said.
In the previous seven stages of the scheme, starting from April 2020 till September 30, 2022, Rs 3.91 lakh crore have been spent and 1,121 lakh metric tonnes of food grains distributed.
Under this scheme, a 5 kg ration per person is given to beneficiaries. This is in addition to the ration given under the public distribution system.