Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday said 80 crore poor will get 5 kg of wheat or rice and 1 kg of gram every month till November. This is under the government’s Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana that was launched in March to soften the blow to the poor due to covid-19. The expansion of the scheme will cost the government Rs 90,000 crore, Modi said in a televised address to the nation.
The Rs 1.7-trillion relief package under newly-framed Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana was rolled out on 26 March. The scheme was planned to end in June.
The expansion of the social welfare scheme has been taken in view of the unabated rise in covid-19 cases, making India the fourth worst affected country in the world, behind the US, Brazil and Russia. The country currently has 215,125 active cases with 16,893 dead, according to information avaliable on the website of ministry of health and family welfare. Daily active cases have been rising by 17,000-18,000. New cases have shot up ever since unlocking began though some states have mostly gone back to sticking to the strict norms of the lockdown. The second phase of unlock starts Wednesday.
Modi said all citizens of the country would soon get ‘one nation, one card’ to which allow one to get free foodgrains in any state of the country, irrespective of domicile.
He said compared to other nations, India is in a reasonable and balanced situation. He said timely steps had saved millions of lives but people have become casual since unlocking began. He said this is a reason for worry and citizens must show the same alertness they had displayed earlier during times of lockdown. He said people who are not complying will have to be checked and made to follow the rules.