Yogi launches free food distribution campaign for 150 million beneficiaries

Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Sunday launched a statewide mega campaign for the distribution of free food twice a month to 15 crore (150 million) beneficiaries through the network of public distribution of 80,000 stores. The launch comes about two months before the state’s legislative elections.

He also distributed free food packages to some beneficiaries immediately after the launch of the program in the presence of Justice Minister Brajesh Pathak, other party leaders and government officials.

The program will continue until Holi in March. Under it, beneficiaries will also receive one kg of legumes, one liter of edible oil, one kg of salt, all once a month, in addition to five kg of wheat / rice per unit (member of the family) per month.

Holders of the Antyodaya ration card (the poorest of poor families) will also have one kg of sugar, in addition to 35 kg of wheat / rice per card / family per month.

The CM said the free food distribution program was launched during the second wave of Covid-19.

“It is the success of the twin-engine government that the BJP government has not let any poor sleep hungry even during difficult times of pandemic,” he said.

Attacking previous governments of other parties, he said that before 2017, food distributed through the PDS network was beyond the reach of the poor due to corruption and the lack of a transparent system.

“We decided to make the food distribution system transparent after we came to power in 2017 and today, beneficiaries receive their due without any difficulty,” he said.

The CM further stated that UP’s handling of the pandemic had been the best, with the result that Covid had disappeared from the state which had a population of 25 crore.

“But we must not let our guard down,” the chief minister hastened to warn and urged people to get vaccinated without wasting any time.

Distributing free food for four months, according to a senior government official, will cost around ??4800 crores. Beneficiaries are entitled to wheat / rice for a nominal fee ( ??3 per kg of rice and ??2 per kg of wheat) at the start of each month under the National Food Safety Law.

“The government has decided to also bear the costs of the normal distribution for four months until March, in addition to deciding to carry out another free distribution of food plus pulses, edible oil, salt and sugar. in the middle of each month, ”he said.

At the end of November, the central government extended the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY-Phase-V) for four months, from December 2021 to March 2022.

The first phase of the program was launched from April to June 2020. It guarantees 5 kg of wheat / rice for free per member and per priority household per month and 35 kg of wheat rice to each Antyoday family per month. Beneficiaries must be covered by the National Food Security Act (NFSA).

Until now, UP beneficiaries received free rations under PMGKAY in the middle of each month after receiving heavily subsidized wheat / rice at the start of each month under the regular NFSA program.

The state government has decided to bear the cost of regular distribution by making wheat / rice available free of charge to beneficiaries, with the exception of the free distribution of pulses, edible oil, sugar and of salt once a month from December 2021 to March 2022.

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