Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi said lakhs of families in Gujarat are getting free ration under PM Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY), reducing distress for the poor and giving them confidence that the country is with them. The Prime Minister was interacting with the beneficiaries of Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana in Gujarat, via video conferencing.
The Prime Minister pointed out that after independence, almost every government talked about providing cheap food to the poor. The scope and budget of cheap ration schemes increased year after year, but the effect it should have had remained limited. The country’s food stocks kept increasing, but starvation and malnutrition did not decrease. One major reason for this was the lack of an effective delivery system. To change this situation work was started afresh after 2014. He said, using new technology, crores of fake beneficiaries were weeded out and ration cards were linked to Aadhar cards. This helped in ensuring that no citizen went hungry despite the biggest calamity of the century when livelihood were threatened and business suffered due to lockdown. He said the world has acknowledged the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana. Free ration has been made available to more than 80 crore people during the pandemic with an expenditure of more than 2 lakh crore rupees, he added.
The Prime Minister praised the Gujarat government for taking care of the migrant labourers, fulfilling the purpose of One Nation One Ration Card Initiative. Empowerment of the poor is being given top priority today. They are being empowered as more than 2 crore poor families got houses, 10 crore families got toilets. Similarly, they get empowered when they get included in the banking system via Jan-Dhan account. Schemes like Ayushman Yojana, reservations for economically weaker sections, roads, free gas and electricity connection, Mudra Yojana, Svanidhi Yojna are giving direction to dignified life for the poor and becoming a medium of empowerment, he added.
It may be noted that nearly 948 lakh metric tonnes of foodgrains was allocated last year which is 50% more than a normal year to ensure food security during COVID. About Rs. 2.84 Lakh crore food subsidy incurred during 2020-21. More than 3.3 crore eligible beneficiaries in Gujarat got 25.5 lakh metric tonnes of foodgrain, incurring a subsidy amount of more than 5 thousand crore. To further strengthen food security for migrant beneficiaries, One Nation One Ration Card implemented so far in 33 States/UTs.