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Amid Covid surge, states search free grain provide from Centre

Only seven states and union territories, together with Rajasthan, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh had distributed 50% or extra of the allotted grains to migrant staff.

Amid the second wave of Covid-19 and localised lockdown introduced by some states that has triggered a return of migrants, Uttarakhand, Kerala and Rajasthan have requested the Centre to contemplate releasing free meals grains to all of the 81 crore ration card holders, much like the one below PM Garib Kalyan Ann Yojana (PMGKAY) final 12 months after imposition of nation-wide lockdown. However, the Centre is non-committal on launching the scheme once more.

“Suggestion has been received from some states and public representatives by the Centre to consider re-launching the scheme (PM Garib Kalyan Ann Yojana). At this stage it is not possible to comment on this. But the government’s thinking has been liberal and positive,” union meals secretary Sudhansu Pandey informed reporters on Thursday.

The Open Market Sale Scheme (OMSS) continues to be persevering with in some states the place personal sector and welfare establishments are supplied meals grains at concessional charges. Last 12 months, the offtake below OMSS was round 30 lakh tonne, Pandey stated.

The Centre needed to discontinue the Rs 3,100-crore scheme of free grains for an estimated eight crore migrant staff below the Atmanirbhar Bharat scheme after completion two months because of lack of response from the states. Only 2.13 crore migrant staff availed the advantage of free grains in May-June. As many as 12 states had distributed lower than 1% meals grains whereas 6 states stated that they didn’t have any beneficiary below this scheme. Only seven states and union territories, together with Rajasthan, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh had distributed 50% or extra of the allotted grains to migrant staff.

However, the free foodgrains to all of the beneficiaries below the National Food Security Act (NFSA) throughout April-November final 12 months was an enormous success with 32.2 million tonne of meals grains lifted by states from the Central Pool inventory. The whole expenditure of the Centre was as excessive as Rs 1.49 lakh crore on this account, together with about Rs 12,000 crore on distribution of pulses and chana below the PMGKAY scheme. The NFSA beneficiaries have been supplied identical quantity of free-of-cost grains additional other than their common entitlement (5kg per particular person each month) below the legislation.

On the present procurement of wheat, Pandey stated that to this point, 64.eight lakh tonne has been bought at MSP at a price of Rs 12,800 crore, benefitting over 6.5 lakh farmers. Since the procurement began late final 12 months (from April 15) because of lockdown, the wheat purchases within the year-ago interval was solely 60 tonne. This 12 months, wheat purchases have began in each state barring Bihar by which it is going to start from April 20, he stated.

After Haryana and Punjab have accepted to switch the cash to farmers’ financial institution accounts from this 12 months, your entire nation has now been coated below the direct profit switch (DBT) for the procurement below the minimal assist value (MSP), Pandey stated.

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