New Delhi: The Union Cabinet on Wednesday decided to extend till March the free foodgrains supply under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) to provide relief to ration cardholders.

The 5 kg foodgrain per person per month is being provided free of cost to more than 80 crore beneficiaries under the PMGKAY.

The scheme was initially launched for three months from April 2020 to provide relief to poor people amid the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to the nationwide lockdown. It has been extended several times since then.

The 5 kg foodgrain is being provided over and above the normal quota under the National Food Security Act (NFSA).

The PMGKAY has been extended by four months till March 2022, informed I&B Minister Anurag Singh Thakur after the Cabinet meeting.

This will cost an additional Rs 53,344 crore to the exchequer, he said, adding that the total cost of PMGKAY would reach about Rs 2.6 lakh crore, including this extension.

The PMGKAY was provided for three months (April-June 2020) to ameliorate distress caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. However, with the crisis continuing, the programme was extended for another five months (July-November 2020).

After the onset of the second wave of the pandemic, the PMGKAY was once again rolled out for two months (May-June 2021) and was further extended for five months (July-November 2021).

Also read: Cabinet approves Farm Laws Repeal Bill, 2021

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