Continuation of free foodgrains under PMGKAY for five years to strengthen accessibility, affordability and availability of foodgrains for the poor and the vulnerable
The Cabinet led by the Prime Minister has decided that the Central government will provide free food grains to about 81.35 crore beneficiaries under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) for a period of five years with effect from 1st January 2024.
This is a historic decision that places PMGKAY amongst the World’s biggest social welfare schemes aimed at ensuring food and nutrition security for 81.35 crore persons, at an estimated cost of Rs. 11.80 lakh crore over a 5-year period.
Free food grains (rice, wheat and coarse grains/millets) under PMGKAY for 5 years from 1.1.2024 will strengthen food security and mitigate any financial hardship of the poor and vulnerable sections of the population. It would provide Nationwide uniformity in the delivery of food grains free of cost in all States/UTs through a network of over 5 lakh Price Shops under a common logo.
It will also enable ease of living, in terms of allowing beneficiaries to lift free-of-cost food grains from any fair-price shop in the country under the ONORC-One Nation One Ration Card- initiative. This initiative is of enormous benefit for migrants, facilitating both intra and inter-state portability of entitlements as part of technology-based reforms under Digital India. The free food grains will concurrently ensure uniform implementation of portability under the One Nation One Ration Card (ONORC) across the country and will further strengthen this choice-based platform.
The approximate food subsidy for five years for the distribution of food grains under PMGKAY will be to the tune of Rs. 11.80 lakh crore. Thus, the Centre will spend approx. Rs. 11.80 lakh crore during the period of the next five years as food subsidy under PMGKAY, to provide free food grains to the targeted population.