Pradhanmantri Garib Kalyanya (PMGKY), New Delhi: A worker distributes ration to the needy. Photo Credit: PTI

The Pradhan Mantri Karib Kalyan Ann Yojana is the Central Government’s integrated food safety scheme. This program provides free foodgrains for more than 80 percent of the poor starting January 1.

This move comes amid criticism from the Opposition over the government ceasing to distribute 5kg of foodgrains every month for free to low-income people under a scheme also known as PMGKAY.

This scheme was created in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic that occurred in April 2020. It ended in December 2017.

Last month, the government decided that PMGKAY would be included in two existing food subsidy programs and, as a result, the new integrated system for food security came into effect.

“The new scheme has been renamed Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Ann Yojana (“PMGKAY”),” the food ministry stated in a statement.

To ensure welfare of beneficiaries, and uniformity between states, free foodgrains under the PMGKAY in the year 2023 will be provided to the poor beneficiaries in accordance to the entitlement to the National Food Security Act.

According to the NFSA, foodgrains can be purchased per person for 5 kg in priority households, and for Antodaya Anna Yojna (AAY), for 35 kg per family per year.

The NFSA beneficiaries had their foodgrains entitlements at a highly subsidised rate. They were entitled to Rs1, Rs2 or Rs3 per kg for rice, wheat, and coarse cereals. This year, they will receive it for free.

According to the ministry the necessary steps have already taken to facilitate the implementation of the PMGKAY on the ground. To ensure smooth rollout of the new scheme in India, state officials of the Food Corporation of India (FCI), and ministry officials regularly interact with them.

In 2023, the Central Government is expected to spend more than Rs2 crore crore as food subsidy under NFSA or other welfare schemes in order to ease the financial burden on the poor.

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