Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY)

Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY)

News: Recently, the PM extended Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) for five more years.

What is PMGKAY?
• Introduced in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic.
• Provides 5 kg of free foodgrains to eligible ration card holders under the National Food Security Act, 2013 (NFSA).
• The NFSA legally entitled three-fourths of India’s rural and half of the urban population — adding up to 81.35 crore, as per the 2011 Census — to 5 kg of foodgrains per person per month at “subsidised prices”. These were fixed at Rs 2/kg for wheat and Rs 3/kg for rice “for a period of three years.

Scope of PMGKAY:
• It covers two types of ration card holders under NFSA - Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) and Priority Households (PHH).
• The AAY households receive 35 kg of foodgrains per month, while PHH households receive foodgrains based on family size (5 kg per family member per month).
• In January,2023, PMGKAY was merged with the NFSA, providing free ration for AAY and PHH families, eliminating additional provisions introduced during the pandemic.
• The total food security bill in 2022-23 rose to about Rs 2.87 lakh crore with the additional outgo.

Concerns raised after recent announcement:
• Increase in Food Subsidy bill
• Gives further encouragement to ‘revdi culture’
• Challenges government MSP regime. For example, if rice is procured from farmers at Rs 45/kg (corresponding to an MSP of Rs 30/kg for paddy) and then distributed free (after adding transport, milling, bagging, storage and other costs), how can this be fiscally sustainable?
• Freebies/Revdi seen as short-term gain however they come at cost of fewer investments in healthcare, public education, irrigation, agricultural research.

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