Have you ever heard of the PM Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana? It’s a major initiative by the government to make sure no one’s going to bed hungry!
Imagine it as a safety net, all woven together, ready to catch and help out folks going through tough times. This cool program is all about giving essential food to those who really need it. So, when things get rough, it’s not just about getting food; it’s like a little beam of hope shining through.
Let’s dive into what makes this program tick and see how it’s making tomorrow brighter for a bunch of people.
(A) Synopsis of PM Garib Kalyan Anna Yojna (PMGKAY)
Let’s grab a synopsis of the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PM-GKAY). It kicked off in 2020 as part of Atmanirbhar Bharat aka Self-Reliant India. Okay. But how is the scheme related to the concept of self-reliance? You may ask.
Because the PM Garib Kalyan Anna Yojna was introduced as part of the larger Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan initiative.
Note: Atmanirbhar Bharat, which translates to “self-reliant India,” is a comprehensive economic package announced by the Indian government to stimulate the economy and make the nation more self-sufficient, especially in the wake of the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
This Garib Kalyan Anna Yojna aims to ensure that free food grains must reach migrants and those struggling financially. Get this – it’s not just a food thing; it’s a whole support system. Launched during the COVID-19 chaos, it’s run by the Department of Food and Public Distribution, looked after by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, and the big player, the Ministry of Finance.
Here’s the deal-
PMGKAY aims to feed the poorest by giving out grains through the Public Distribution System. If you’re in the priority households or hold a ration card, you’re in.
What will you get as a part of this scheme?
Here it is- 5 kg of rice or wheat per person and 1 kg of dal per family – that’s the drill.
It’s not just big in India; it’s the world’s largest food security program.
(B) Latest Update: Why PM Garib Kalyan Anna Yojna is in the news?
Recently, Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave it a high-five, extending it for 5 more years, helping around 80 crore people. Everyone gets 5 kilograms of free wheat or rice every month – no state restrictions; it’s for the whole country.
This supplements the subsidized ration (priced at Rs 2-3 per kg) distributed to eligible families through the National Food Security Act (NFSA) as part of the Public Distribution System (PDS). The type and quantity of food grains may vary.
The plan is clear-
Make sure everyone gets the grub they need, and it operates through the Public Distribution System (PDS).
Hold on, there’s more. The Union Budget 2022-23 threw a whopping Rs. 2 Lakh Crores into the mix for the scheme this fiscal year.
Can you believe it?
That’s the government’s commitment to keep the food flowing to those who need it the most.
(C) Statistics of PM Garib Kalyan Anna Yojna
Let’s look at the statistical data of the grand food scheme of India known as PM Garib Kalyan Anna Yojna-
|Phase||Month/Year||Project Fund (INR Crores)||Planned Food Quantity Served (Lakh Metric Ton)||Actual Food Quantity Served (Lakh Metric Ton)||No. of Beneficiaries (in crores)|
|1st Phase||April- June |
|2nd Phase||July- Nov|
|62380||198.78||186.72||In July 2021, 74.93|
In Aug 2021, 74.95
In Sep 2021, 75.01
In Oct 2021, 74.55
In Nov 2021, 74.04
|5th Phase||December 2021- March 2022||53342||159||115.03|
|6th Phase||April- September 2022||80000||244||–||80 crores (Approx.)|
|7th Phase||October- December |
|Current Phase||Year 2023 to Next 5 Years||200000||Will be updated soon||Will be updated soon||Will be updated soon|
(D) Eligibility of PMGKAY (Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana)
Eligibility for the scheme includes families falling the Below Poverty Line (BPL), categorized as Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) and Priority Households (PHH).
|Eligibility Criteria||Scheme Categories|
|Families falling Below Poverty Line (BPL)||Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY)|
|Priority Households (PHH)||Identified by State Governments/Union Territory Administrations based on criteria specified by the Central Government|
Since AAY (Antyodaya Anna Yojana) constitutes a major share of PMGKAY, it is important to look into its eligibility criteria. So here we go-
- Terminally ill individuals
- Widows (Households led by widows)
- Disabled persons (Physically/Mentally Disabled)
- Individuals aged 60 years or more with no guaranteed means of subsistence or societal support.
- Single women or single men with no family or societal support
- All primitive tribal households
- Landless agriculture laborers, marginal farmers, rural artisans/craftsmen such as potters, tanners, weavers, blacksmiths, carpenters, slum dwellers, and persons earning their livelihood on a daily basis.
- Slum dwellers, and persons earning their livelihood on a daily basis in the informal sector like porters, coolies, rickshaw pullers, hand cart pullers, fruit and flower sellers, snake charmers, rag pickers, cobblers, destitute, and other similar categories.
- Persons earning their livelihood on a daily basis in the informal sector.
- All eligible Below Poverty Line families of HIV-positive persons.
(E) Benefits of the PM Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana
Here comes the most anticipated part of this write-up. The benefits of the grand free food distribution program of India i.e., PM Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana.
(E.1) Key Benefits
The following table describes the key benefits of PMGKAY-
|Benefits of PMGKAY||Description|
|Free Food Grains||Distribution of 5 kg of rice or wheat per person per month to eligible beneficiaries, based on regional dietary preferences.|
|Pulses Allocation||Provision of 1 kg of dal per family holding a ration card.|
|Whole Chana Allocation||Each family receives 1 kg of free whole chana per month.|
|Additional Provision||More than 81.35 crore people will benefit from the scheme, receiving free wheat/rice and whole chana.|
|Wheat and Rice Allocation||Wheat is allocated to 6 States/UTs – Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Chandigarh, Delhi, and Gujarat. Rice provided to the remaining States/UTs.|
|Over and Above NFSA Entitlements||The provision is in addition to the regular monthly entitlements under the National Food Security Act, 2013 (NFSA).|
|Food Security||Ensures essential food items for vulnerable populations, especially in times of crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic.|
(E.2) Other Benefits of PM Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana
Apart from the benefits described above, the nation as well as the citizens will get the following benefits of the PM Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana-
|Other Benefits of PMGKAY||Details|
|Immediate Relief||Provides immediate support to families facing economic hardship, offering a safety net during challenging circumstances.|
|Inclusive Reach||Covers various categories, including Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) and Priority Households (PHH), reaching a broad spectrum of vulnerable citizens.|
|Extended Duration||The scheme has been extended for an additional 5 years, ensuring a sustained impact and support for a more extended period.|
|Largest Food Security Program Worldwide||Recognized as the world’s largest food security initiative, underlining its significance and scale.|
|Nationwide Coverage||Not limited to specific states, the scheme operates pan-India, addressing the food security needs of the entire country.|
|Complementary to Atmanirbhar Bharat||Aligned with the broader goals of self-reliance, contributing to the welfare and resilience of the Indian population.|
|Alleviation of Poverty||It aims to uplift the underprivileged by providing essential food support and contributing to poverty alleviation efforts.|
(F) Challenges Faced by PM Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana
Every scheme faces challenges on the ground level. Similar is the case with PMGKAY. Go through the following points and you will get to know-
(F.1) Distribution Issues Due to Corruption
Most free grains allocated under the scheme were not distributed to the intended recipients. Corruption among food dealers and village council members was identified as a major hindrance to the proper distribution of the allocated food grains.
(F.2) Varied State Performance
Disparities in the distribution were observed among states. Both Goa and Telangana distributed no grain at all. Eleven states (Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Jharkhand, Ladakh, Maharashtra, Meghalaya, Odisha, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, and Tripura) distributed less than 1% of their allocated amount in April and May 2020. Six states (Bihar, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Sikkim, and Ladakh) also distributed zero grain in June 2020.
(F.3) Lack of Migrant Workers
The Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Ram Vilas Paswan, attributed distribution challenges to a lack of migrant workers. The absence of these workers was identified as a contributing factor to the failure in the timely and effective distribution of grains to the intended beneficiaries.
(F.4) Inadequate Response and Accountability
Some states were reported not actively participating in the distribution process, leading to ineffective implementation of the scheme. The Union Minister expressed concern over the lack of accountability in distributing food grains when provided free.
(F.5) Seriousness of the Issue Acknowledged
The Union Minister emphasized that the government takes the issue seriously and acknowledged the problems faced in providing food grains to states. This acknowledgment suggests a recognition of the need for corrective measures to address the challenges and improve the efficiency of the distribution system.
(F.6) Blame on Corruption
The director of Oxfam India, Ranu Bhogal, attributed the distribution challenges to corruption among food dealers and village council members. This highlights the systemic issue of corruption hindering the effective implementation of the scheme and calls for measures to address corruption and ensure transparency in the distribution process.
(F.7) Coordination Challenges
Coordination challenges between the central government and states may have contributed to the distribution issues. The complexities in the coordination mechanism could be a barrier to the smooth implementation of the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana.
Note: Do you know what is the key ingredient for Self-reliant India? It is none other than entrepreneurship. However, numerous factors affect it. For more details go through the article “6 Key Factors Affecting Entrepreneurship in India.”
(G) Why was PM Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana a success?
You must be wondering, how PMGKAY became successful despite the challenges mentioned above. Well, it was successful due to the following reasons-
|Prevention of Extreme Poverty||The scheme played a crucial role in preventing extreme poverty, ensuring that it stayed at less than 1% during the COVID-19 pandemic.|
|Food Security Impact||PMGKAY, with the doubling of food entitlements, absorbed the income shocks induced by the pandemic, providing a lifeline for families to ensure they had enough to eat despite economic challenges.|
|Extension for Continued Support||The extension of five years more from the year 2023 shows a commitment to ongoing support, making sure no one suffers due to a lack of food grains.|
|Additional Free-of-Cost Distribution||About 80 crore people received additional free food grains in response to the pandemic, a proactive step to ensure everyone had enough, especially during uncertain times.|
|Temporary Fiscal Policy Intervention||Recognizing the pandemic’s impact as a temporary shock, a temporary fiscal policy like PMGKAY was the right move to absorb a significant part of that shock, addressing immediate challenges.|
|Positive Consumption Growth||The scheme positively influenced consumption growth, contributing to maintaining a higher level of consumption, which is essential in poverty dynamics.|
|Wide Reach to Beneficiaries||Covering about 80 crore beneficiaries under NFSA and DBT, the scheme ensures a broad impact, reaching a significant portion of the population.|
It’s not just us saying it’s a success; even the International Monetary Fund recognizes it. Their study, “Pandemic, Poverty, and Inequality: Evidence from India,” presented estimates of poverty and consumption inequality, highlighting the positive impact of the scheme.
That’s a global recognition for a homegrown success story!
(H) Final Words
In wrapping up, the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana is more than a government initiative; it’s a lifeline for millions. Through its commitment to providing free food grains, doubling entitlements, and extending support, it became a shield against extreme poverty, especially during challenging times like the pandemic.
Its success, acknowledged globally, isn’t just about numbers; it’s about ensuring no one goes to bed hungry. As you explore its benefits, remember, that it’s not just a scheme; it’s a testament to a nation’s dedication to the well-being of its people, making sure everyone has a plate full and a brighter tomorrow.
We hope this exploration of the PM Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana and its benefits has been insightful. Thanks for investing your time in understanding this vital initiative. Your engagement in understanding these social welfare measures is a step towards a more informed and compassionate society
If you have further questions or topics to explore, feel free to reach out. Appreciate your time and interest!