States ask centre to restart free foodgrains scheme during Covid-19

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Following the second wave of Covid-19, a number of state governments together with Rajasthan, Kerala and Uttrakhand have requested the centre to restart distribution of free meals grains to 810 million poor folks underneath the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Ann Yojana (PMGKAY), which was launched final 12 months during the primary wave of the pandemic. Under the scheme, the centre distributed 5 kg rice or wheat per individual and one kg of pulses per household coated underneath the the National Food Security Act from April- November 2020.

“We can’t say anything at this point of time. But under the current circumstances, the outlook of central government is quite liberal and positive on this issue,” mentioned meals and public distribution secretary Sudhanshu Pandey.

The authorities final 12 months had allotted 32.2 million tonnes of meals grains free of price on the monetary price of Rs 1.22 lakh crore as well as to Rs 12,000 crore spent for the distribution of pulses and chana underneath PMGKAY scheme.

Pandey mentioned that the central authorities continues to present states meals grains at subsidised charges for his or her welfare programmes.

“We are heading towards a record procurement of wheat this year at 42.73 million tonnes. So far we have purchased 6.47 million tonnes within a month of the start of procurement exercise. We have disbursed more than Rs 12,800 crore directly in farmers’ bank accounts. Last year due to Covid-19, only 60 tonnes of wheat was procured till date,” he mentioned.

Pandey mentioned that the direct profit switch (DBT) into farmers’ accounts has taken off nicely in Punjab, which has been routing the cash towards procurement by means of arhtiyas.

“With DBT starting successfully in Punjab, we can say that now every farmer in the country is getting money directly in bank account. Even arhtiyas in Punjab, who get 2.5% commission against services are getting their dues directly in their accounts over and above the minimum support price (MSP) farmers are receiving. We are getting good support from state government as well as arhtiyas,” Pandey mentioned.

He mentioned that the federal government is planning for correct storage for the report procurement of wheat and rice in order that the shelf lifetime of the grain prolongs together with the standard.

“We have stopped creating temporary storage structures like covered and plinth (CAP) for wheat. We are now planning to modernise our storage infrastructure. You will see more steel silos as we target to create a storage capacity of 10 million tonnes. Meanwhile, we are expanding our existing storage of 81.6 million tonnes by 20% to accommodate extra grains,” he mentioned.

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