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Deadline for distribution of free food grains extended till August 31

Ram Vilas Paswan

Ram Vilas Paswan  

The Narendra Modi government has extended the deadline for distribution of free food grains under the Atmanirbhar Bharat Mission allocated to State governments, which was aimed at migrant workers who didn’t have ration cards, by a month, till August 31.

Ten States seek extension of free food grains scheme

Union Minister for Food and Public Distribution Ramvilas Paswan said the scheme was launched on May 15 and the identification process of genuine beneficiaries took some time. “This scheme is for any one who doesn’t have a ration card. The beneficiary may or may not be a migrant worker. It is up to the States to decide how they want to distribute it,” Mr. Paswan said. He said that now States could complete distribution of balance of allocated food grains and pulses.

Under the Atma Nirbhar Bharat Package, 5 kg of free food grains per person and 1 kg of free whole gram per family has been distributed to migrant labourers, stranded and needy families, who are not covered under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) or State scheme PDS cards.

Scheme underutilised

The scheme has been underutilised, as per the Ministry’s own statistics. Out of eight lakh tonnes allotted to the States, only 6.39 lakh tonnes has been picked up and out of this too, only 2,32,433 tonnes of food grains given to 2.24 crore beneficiaries in May and to 2.25 crore beneficiaries in June. Mr. Paswan said that around 33,620 tonnes of whole gram had been dispatched to the States and Union Territories. A total of 32,968 tonnes of whole gram had been lifted by various States and Union Territories, of which 10,645 tonnes had been distributed.

20 million tonnes

Around 20 million tonnes of foodgrains have been earmarked for free distribution to Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) and Priority Household (PHH) cardholders up to November in the country.

Of this quantity, rice will account for about 11 million tonnes and wheat 9 million tonnes. Being carried out as part of the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY), the free distribution of foodgrains is meant to be given as additional entitlement to the beneficiaries at the rate of five kg per month for five months — July to November.

State-wise allocation

Issuing a State-wise allocation order on Wednesday, the Department of Food and Public Distribution in the Union Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution made it clear that the allocation would be in addition to the regular monthly allocation to the States and Union Territories under the National Food Security Act (NFSA).

Among the States with the details of allocation of foodgrains are Uttar Pradesh – approximately 3.6 million tonnes; Bihar - 2.17 million tonnes; Maharashtra – 1.75 million tonnes; Madhya Pradesh – 1.36 million tonnes and Rajasthan – 1.11 million tonnes.

Southern region

Unlike in the north and Maharashtra where both wheat and rice have been allotted more or less in equal measure, the southern region has been given predominantly rice with minimum amount of wheat. Karnataka will get about 1 million tonnes of foodgrains; Tamil Nadu - 0.89 million tonnes; Andhra Pradesh – 0.67 million tonnes; Telangana – 0.479 million tonnes and Kerala - 0.387 million tonnes. Around 15,860 tonnes of rice have been earmarked for Puducherry.

In the first round of PMGKAY, which lasted between April and June, around 90% of the allocated quantity of foodgrains — a little over 11 million tonnes of foodgrains including 9.58 million tonnes of rice — was lifted by the States and Union Territories from the Food Corporation of India as on June 14, according to the Central department’s portal on distribution of foodgrains under the PMGKAY.

(With inputs from T. Ramakrishnan in Chennai)

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Printable version | Aug 10, 2020 2:33:00 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/deadline-for-distribution-of-free-food-grains-extended-till-august-31/article32035840.ece

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