NATIONAL

No free grain in July for 40% of PMGKAY beneficiaries

Ram Vilas Paswan

Ram Vilas Paswan  

Almost four out of ten people dependent on free food from the Centre did not receive their July allocation under a special scheme to help tide over the COVID-19 crisis, Food Minister Ram Vilas Paswan told journalists on Friday, blaming States for their failure to distribute the free grains and pulses.

In fact, as many as 11 States and Union Territories did not carry out any distribution at all under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) in July, the first month of the extended scheme. In the first phase, from April to June, about 95% of the 81 crore beneficiaries received their grain allocation. In July, that dropped to just 61%, according to an official statement. Only 6% of the free chana has been distributed.

The lag is partly because some States follow staggered a bi- or tri-monthly distribution cycle, said Mr. Paswan, adding that such States have promised to distribute both the July and August allocation during this month. The laggard States include Punjab, West Bengal and Uttarakhand. In the flood-hit States of Assam and Bihar, the PMGKAY coverage for July was only 21% and 52%, respectively.

PMGKAY was rolled out in April as part of the Centre’s response to COVID-19 and resultant lockdown, which deprived crores of people of their livelihood.

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