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No proposal to extend free ration scheme PMGKAY beyond November 30: Food secretary

NEW DELHI: The Centre on Friday said there is no proposal at present to extend free foodgrains supply via the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) to provide relief to ration card holders, in view of recovery in the economy and good disposal of foodgrains in the open market under the OMSS policy. Initially, the additional free benefit under the PMGKAY was provided for a period of 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 a period of two months (May-June 2021) and was further extended for a period of five months (July-November 2021). Asked if the government will further extend the scheme, Food Secretary Sudhansu Pandey said, “Since the economy is also reviving and our OMSS (open market sale scheme) disposal of foodgrains has also been exceptionally good this year. So, there is no proposal to extend PMGKAY.” The OMSS policy has been consumer-friendly this year, he told reporters during a press briefing on falling edible oil prices. The government has been selling rice and wheat to bulk consumers under the OMSS policy to improve availability in the domestic market and check prices. The Centre is providing an additional quantity of 5 kg foodgrains per person per month, free of cost, to more than 80 crore beneficiaries over and above the normal quota under National Food Security Act (NFSA).

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