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PM Modi Extends PMGKAY Scheme For 5 More Years, Ensuring Free Ration For 80 Crore Poor

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made a significant announcement regarding the extension of the PM Garib Kalyan Ann Yojna ( PMGKAY ) scheme, aimed at providing free Ration to over 80 crore impoverished individuals.

This extension will be in effect for the next five years, representing a substantial financial commitment with an estimated annual cost of Rs 2 lakh crore in subsidies.
The decision to extend this welfare program is strategically aligned with Prime Minister Modi's "pro-poor" agenda, serving as a crucial component of his electoral platform in anticipation of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

During a political rally in Durg, Chhattisgarh, PM Narendra Modi revealed the extension of the PM Garib Kalyan Ann Yojna (PMGKAY), emphasizing that it is not a mere political promise but a firm commitment.

He expressed, "Going by the government's scheme, PMGKAY is ending this December. But your son who has seen poverty lived with it, and came from amongst you (the poor), has taken another decision. I have decided that the BJP government will extend the scheme to provide free ration to 80 crore poor for the next five years. This is not a political promise, this is Modi's guarantee."

The announcement of the five-year extension, accompanied by the significant annual subsidy cost, has added momentum to the forthcoming election season. It has raised expectations for more welfare initiatives as the nation prepares for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

Notably, the extension of this scheme for five more years, by a government seeking re-election in the near future, has come as a surprise to many. It is expected to reinforce PM Modi 's "pro-poor" stance, demonstrating the government's commitment to the welfare of the underprivileged.

Additionally, PM Modi highlighted the government's focus on ensuring that all beneficiaries of the world's largest food security program receive their entitlements.

He mentioned the implementation of the 'One Nation One Ration Card' initiative, which allows eligible individuals to access their free 5kg ration from any part of the country, including migrant workers. He assured the people, saying, "Now go anywhere in India , you will show the ration card of Chhattisgarh, Modi's guarantee card will not let you go hungry in any corner of India."

PM Modi also recalled the launch of PMGKAY during the COVID-19 pandemic, wherein an additional 5kg of free ration was provided monthly to 80 crore beneficiaries under the National Food Security Act . This was in addition to the existing highly subsidized rates of Rs 3 per kg for rice and Rs 2 per kg for wheat.

Originally intended for three months, the scheme was extended six times, ensuring an additional free ration supply for a total of 28 months. In December of the previous year, the government integrated PMGKAY with NFSA , making the highly subsidized ration completely free for the disadvantaged.

It is worth noting that the cabinet had initially approved the free ration scheme for a single year, i.e., the calendar year of 2023. PM Modi's announcement now conclusively settles any conjecture regarding the continuation of the scheme until 2028.

The annual expenditures of the government for the food subsidy under PMGKAY are estimated to be around Rs 2 lakh crore, with anticipated increases in the coming financial year due to rising economic costs related to ration management by the Food Corporation of India. These economic costs encompass factors such as minimum support prices for farmers, storage, transportation, and other expenses associated with rice and wheat.