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PMGKAY merged with NFSA entitlement of 5 kg per person per month

  • Published
    24th Dec, 2022
Context

The Central Government has decided to merge the PMGKAY with the National food security Act (NFSA) and aims to provide free food grains for one year. 

About

About the merger:

  • Beneficiaries under NFSA: The Government has decided to provide free food grains to all 81 crore beneficiaries covered under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) for one year.
  • The beneficiary families which used to pay Rs 1 for coarse cereals, Rs 2 for wheat and Rs 3 for rice per kg will now get 35kg of food grains free for the next year and others will get 5kg for free in a month till December 2023.
  • The Centre has estimated an additional amount of Rs 2 lakh crore for the scheme.
  • PMGKAY to an end: With this move, the PMGKAY which was launched during the lockdown in April 2020 was scheduled to end on December 31, 2022.
  • The minimum support price for Copra: The centre has also approved the Minimum Support Price (MSP) for copra for the 2023 season.
  • The approval is based on the recommendations of the Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices and views of major coconut-growing States.
  • The announced MSP of copra for the 2023 season is in line with the principle of fixing the MSP at a level of at least 1.5 times all of India's weighted average cost of production as announced by the government in the Budget 2018-19.
  • Governing agencies: The National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Ltd. (NAFED) and the National Cooperative Consumers’ Federation (NCCF) will continue to act as Central Nodal Agencies for the procurement of copra and de-husked coconut under the Price Support Scheme (PSS).

Need for merge the schemes:

  • Fewer stocks of rice and wheat: For December, 13.67 lakh metric tonnes of wheat and 31.72 lakh metric tonnes of rice are required under the NFSA. The monthly requirement of the PMGKAY stood at about 40 lakh metric tonnes (wheat: 7 lakh metric tonnes and rice: 33 lakh metric tonnes).

What is the NFSA?

  • Under the Act, each Antyodaya Anna Yojanahousehold, which refers to the poorest sections of the country, is entitled to 35 kg of food grains per month.
  • This policy covers approximately 2.37 crore households or 9.01 crore persons, as on February 1, 2021.
  • Besides, nearly 70.35 crore persons from priority households, or those who hold a ration card, are entitled to 5 kg of food grains per person per month.

Food Security:

  • According to NFSA, Food Security is defined as the availability of sufficient food grains to meet the domestic demand as well as access, at the individual level, to adequate means of food at affordable prices.
  • The globally recognized definition of food security is access to food at the household level at all times to ensure a healthy and active life for all its members.

What is the current coverage?

  • Currently, 75% of the rural population and 50% of the urban population come under NFSA’s coverage.
  • Overall, the Act covers 67% of the country’s total population.

Important Government Programs/initiatives:

To combat this perennial problem of food security, Government did introduce some major programs such as:

  • Mid-day meal Scheme: The program provides daily meals to over 120 million children between classes 1 and 8 in all government and government-aided schools with nutritious cooked meals. 
  • Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS): The ICDS provides 100 million children under 6 years of age and pregnant and lactating mothers with cooked meals and take-home rations. 
  • Public food distribution system (PDS): PDS is a system of a government-sponsored chain of shops entrusted with the work of distributing basic food and non-food commodities to the needy sections of society at very cheap prices.
  • Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGS): The Act aims to enhance livelihood security in rural areas by providing at least 100 days of guaranteed wage employment in a financial year to every household whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work.
  • Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY): It is the sponsored scheme of the Government of India to provide highly subsidised food to millions of the poorest families. 
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