PMGK Anna Yojana: Gujarat to Punjab, states need free grains scheme to go on past September

WITH SEVERAL states slicing throughout occasion strains — from BJP-ruled Gujarat to Congress-led Rajasthan — set to hunt an extension of the free foodgrains scheme (Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana) past September 30, the Centre could also be inclined to proceed with it for at the least a couple of extra months.

To alleviate Covid misery, the PMGK Anna Yojana was initially introduced for a three-month interval (April-June 2020) and was prolonged a number of instances, with its sixth section ending September. Given the quantum of wheat and rice obtainable within the buffer inventory now, free foodgrains might be supplied to the poor for one more three months until December 2022, sources mentioned.

The Sunday Express had on September 4 reported that the choice to increase it will be a “political call” given the prices concerned. The invoice for the primary six months (April-September 2022) is estimated to be about Rs 80,000 crore, and the Department of Expenditure beneath the Union Ministry of Finance had, in an inside notice, suggested towards extending it each on “grounds of food security and on fiscal grounds”.

When contacted, Gujarat Food & Civil Supply Minister Naresh Patel mentioned the state is prone to request the Central authorities to additional lengthen it, at the least until Diwali. “The Diwali festival will be there in October. So, we are likely to write to the Central government to extend it till Diwali, so that it provides respite to the poor families,” Patel advised The Indian Express.

According to Patel, the state authorities is offering free meals grains to round 71 lakh households holding playing cards beneath the National Food Security Act (NFSA) overlaying a inhabitants of round 3.5 crore.

Rajasthan Minister for Food and Civil Supplies Pratap Singh Khachariyawas mentioned the Centre should proceed the PMGK Anna Yojana past September. “I will write to the Centre about it. Apart from this, the Centre should also increase the limit for the number of NFSA beneficiaries for states, as more people want to be included but due tothe upper cap set by the Centre, we are not able to include them,” he advised The Indian Express.

Some states corresponding to Uttar Pradesh and Bihar mentioned it was for the Centre to take a ultimate determination because it was a Union authorities scheme, some others like Punjab and Maharashtra mentioned they had been awaiting the Centre’s suggestions on extending it, and nonetheless some others like Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, mentioned they’ve their very own free foodgrains scheme. These three states mentioned they’d proceed distributing foodgrains free even when the Centre ended the scheme.


The price, elements

The price of constant with the scheme for the following six months is estimated to be about Rs 80,000 crore. While extending it will be a political name, the federal government is carefully taking a look at its buffer inventory of wheat and rice which would be the key issue.

A authorities functionary mentioned it was not a lot the monetary burden, however the place of buffer inventory that can affect the ultimate determination. “It is certainly a political decision. If the government decides to go ahead, the finance ministry is equipped to deal with it. But a decision is dependent on the buffer stock of rice and wheat,” mentioned a supply within the Union Ministry of Finance.

There are issues on wheat inventory due to decrease output (106 million tonnes in 2021-22 in contrast with 109 million tonnes in 2020-21) and considerably decrease procurement within the central pool (18.7 million metric tonnes this 12 months in contrast with 43.3 million metric tonnes within the earlier 12 months). This has resulted in a depletion in wheat inventory to a 14-year low. The newest inventory as on September 1 is 25 million metric tonnes.

While the inventory of rice is properly above the buffer inventory norms, the decrease sowing within the present kharif season as a consequence of uneven monsoon in paddy rising states has prompted some issues. The Ministry of Agriculture’s information for the week-ended September 9 exhibits that the protection was 393.79 lakh hectares in contrast with 414.31 lakh hectares final 12 months. “There may be a shortfall of about 10-12 million tonnes in rice production in this kharif season,” mentioned Sudhanshu Pandey, Secretary, Food, within the Department of Food and Public Distribution, on Friday at a press convention.

Sources within the Ministry of Agriculture mentioned wheat inventory within the central pool was round 25 million metric tonnes as on September 1, 2022—16.45 lakh metric tonnes decrease than the wheat inventory of 26.64 million metric tonnes on August 1 this 12 months. The rice inventory within the central pool stood at 24.6 million metric tonnes as on September 1, this 12 months. However, that is separate from the un-milled paddy.

Under the PMGY Anna Yojana, 39.88 lakh metric tonnes foodgrains – 7 lakh metric tonnes wheat and 32.88 lakh metric tonnes rice – is allotted each month, sources mentioned. Besides, 20 lakh metric tonnes wheat is required to fulfill the month-to-month allocation beneath NFSA. If the month-to-month allocation of wheat beneath the NFSA is added to PMGK Anna Yojana’s month-to-month distribution, the entire amount of wheat required in a month is round 27 lakh metric tonnes.

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So, for the remaining seven months (September-March) of the present monetary 12 months, a amount of about 18.9 million metric tonnes of wheat could be required. This signifies that about 6.1 million metric tonnes wheat might be obtainable as on April 1, 2023, which might be a little bit decrease than the buffer requirement of seven.46 million metric tonnes as at first of the monetary 12 months every year.

The sources additionally identified that officers in a number of states had identified that plenty of beneficiary households of PMGK Anna Yojana had been opting to promote the additional foodgrains allotted to them beneath the scheme through the Covid disaster and get cash as an alternative. “But the Centre decided to continue the scheme because the conclusion was that the families wanted to get money to meet other necessities and it was a crisis period. After all, the purpose of the scheme was to mitigate hardships faced by the poor during the pandemic,” mentioned the supply.

(With inputs from Liz Mathew and Harikishan Sharma in New Delhi, Deep Mukherjee in Jaipur, Parimal Dabhi in Ahmedabad)

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