The central government is very ‘liberal’ by some states and MPs for allocating additional food grains on the lines of Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) in the second wave of COVID-19. A senior official gave this information today.
In the first wave of COVID-19, the central government had given 5 kg of wheat or rice and one kg of dal free in addition to the normal grain allocation to the beneficiaries under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) under the scheme. This was seen as a major step towards protecting against hunger and loss during captivity.
Lockdown and curfew have now been announced by some states to stop the spread of COVID-19, out of which Kerala, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand have demanded additional allocation of food grains on the lines of PMGKAY. MPs like Sharad Pawar, Saugat Roy, Vinay Vishwam have also supported the demand. Maharashtra has already started distributing additional free food grains.
Union Food Secretary Sudhanshu Pandey told reporters, ‘We are already selling food grains to the states and other welfare institutions in the open market at low rates under various schemes. The scheme is still ongoing and about 20 lakh tonnes of food grains have been given to the states under this process. But we have received a request to resume PMGKAY on behalf of 3-4 states. At this time I am not able to say anything in this matter, but looking at the current situation of COVID, I can say that the views of India are very liberal about this issue. ‘
The PMGKAY scheme was introduced in April 2020 when the COVID-10 lockdown was at its peak. This was initially for 3 months, which was later extended to 5 months, given the volatile situation. Under this scheme, the central government had given 5 kg of wheat or rice per person per month free of cost to about 80 crore beneficiaries, in addition to the food grains provided to them under the Food Security Act. Apart from this, free pulses of 1 kg per month were also distributed to all eligible families.
In two phases of PM Garib Kalyan Yojana and self-reliant India, the central government distributed 32 million tonnes of food grains in FY21. This is in addition to the sale of about 55 million tonnes of wheat and rice under the Public Distribution System (PDS) and other welfare schemes.
In the first three months of April, May and June, the total subsidy on free distribution of food grains came to about Rs 46,061 crore. Subsequently, the Garib Kalyan Other Scheme was extended to 5 months, causing an additional burden of subsidy of around Rs 76,000 crore. Thereafter, both the poor Galiyan packages were worth about Rs 1.49 lakh crore, including the subsidy cost on lentils distribution and free distribution of food grains to the displaced under self-sufficient India.
However, the Food Secretary also said that the process of wheat procurement is going smoothly across the country and till now 64 lakh tonnes of wheat has been purchased from farmers for Rs 12,800 crore, compared to only 60 lakh tonnes of wheat in the same period last year. The purchase was made.
Punjab introduced many reforms for MSME sector
Punjab Sircar has announced several reforms for the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) sector. The government has said that its intention is to harmonize things and reduce the regulatory burden from the MSME sector through digitization. These measures will allow entrepreneurs to focus on expanding their operations amid the COVID-19 epidemic. Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said in an official statement on Thursday that the data-based assessment of delays in the supply of services, along with reducing flexibility and monitoring of labor regulations, all these reforms are focused on facilitating entrepreneurship in Punjab. He said that his government is committed to significantly reducing the time, risk and cost associated with compliance. This will allow entrepreneurs to focus on growth by freeing up. These reforms, commitments are for future changes.