- Recently the Union Cabinet has approved to extend the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY-Phase V) for a period of 4 months i.e. from December 2021 to March 2022.
- ‘Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana’ was launched as part of ‘Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package’ (PMGKP) to assist poor and vulnerable sections in the fight against COVID-19.
- Finance Ministry is its nodal ministry.
- Initially this scheme was started for a period of three months (April, May and June 2020), in which total 80 crore ration card holders were covered. Later it was extended till November 2020.
- The Phase-I and Phase-II of the scheme were conducted from April to June, 2020 and July to November, 2020 respectively.
- The third phase of the scheme operated from May to June 2021.
- The fourth phase of the scheme is currently operational for July-November 2021.
- In addition to the 5 kg subsidized food grains already provided through the Public Distribution System (PDS) under this scheme, 5 kg additional food grains (wheat or rice) free to each person under the National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013 the target has been set to provide.
- Its new version of PMGKAY lacks one of its important components that was present in the PMGKAY of the year 2020: 1 kg of free pulses per month for every family covered under NFSA.
- The government will spend about Rs 2.60 lakh crore in PMGKAY Phase I-V.
- PMGKAY-V will have an estimated additional food subsidy of Rs.53344.52 crore.
Allocation so far:
- Overall allocation of about 600 Lakh Metric Tonnes (LMT) of food grains to the States/UTs under PMGKAY (Phase 1 to 4), which is equivalent to food grain subsidy of about Rs 2.07 lakh crore.
- Distribution under PMGKAY 4 is currently underway and as per reports available from States/UTs, 93.8% food grains have been allocated.
- This is important from the point of view of daily wage workers and informal sector entrepreneurs who lost their jobs in the wake of the COVID-19 induced lockdown.
- A major issue is that the beneficiaries of the National Food Security Act are based on the last census (2011), although since then there has been an increase in the number of food-insecure people who are no longer covered under the scheme.