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Weighing on PM-GKAY Scheme

  • Published
    26th Nov, 2022
Context

The Central government had announced an extension of the Pradhan MantriGaribKalyan Anna Yojana (PM-GKAY) for another three months until December 2022.

About

The PMGK Anna Yojana:

  • The Pradhan MantriGaribKalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) is a free food grain scheme introduced in March 2020.
  • Objective: To alleviate Covid distress.
  • The scheme is part of Atmanirbhar Bharat to supply free food grains to migrants and the poor
  • Benefits allocated:
    • PMGKAY beneficiaries get a 5kg free ration per person per month in addition to their normal quota of food grains under the National Food Security Act.
    • Under NFSA, highly subsidised food grains are provided to about 75% rural and 50% urban population of the country.
  • Eligibility:
    • Families belonging to the Below Poverty Line - Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) and Priority Households (PHH) categories will be eligible for the scheme.
    • AAY families are to be identified by States/UTs as per the criteria prescribed by the Central Government.
    • Households headed by widows or terminally ill persons or disabled persons or persons aged 60 years or more with no assured means of subsistence or societal support.
    • All primitive tribal
    • Landless agriculture labourers, marginal farmers, rural artisans/craftsmen such as potters, tanners, weavers, blacksmiths, carpenters, slum dwellers, and persons earning their livelihood on daily basis in the informal sector are included under the scheme.

Is it required to further extend the scheme?

According to the studies, there is no such need to extend the scheme due to the following reasons:

  • Overlap with other poverty alleviation schemes like;
    • The Public Distribution System (PDS): Under the PDS, presently the commodities namely wheat, rice, sugar and keroseneare being allocated to the States/UTs for distribution.
    • Some States/UTs also distribute additional items of mass consumption through the PDS outlets such as pulses, edible oils, iodized salt, spices, etc.
    • Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY): Provide them grains at a highly subsidised rate of Rs.2 per kg for wheat and 3 per kg for rice and Re. 1 for coarse grains.
    • The chosen households are entitled to 35kg of food grains per month.

Regulatory Bodies involved:

  • Public Food Distribution System in States
  • Ministry of Health and Family Welfare
  • Ministry of Finance
  • Can lead to Corruption: As already many schemes are going on in States and by the Centre, the fund allocated for PM-GKAY may be misused and lead to corruption
  • Inadequate data representation: Due to a lack of proper surveys after the implementation of schemes, outdated data can lead to misguiding governments’ revenue and sources.
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