The central government has made an announcement, giving free food grains to all National Food Security Act (NFSA) beneficiaries in 2023. The announcement comes only days before the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) ends on December 31, 2022.
In a cabinet judgment on December 23, the centre resolved to distribute 5 kg of free food grains per month to the 81 crore NFSA members throughout 2023, rather than charging them a subsidized cost of Rs 3 kg of rice, Rs 2 kg of wheat, and Rs 1 kg of coarse cereal as is now done.
The move will cost the treasury around Rs 2 lakh crore, the entire expense will be paid by the Union government. The Scheme would also guarantee that the Act is implemented effectively and uniformly. Free food grains will also guarantee that the One Nation One Ration Card is implemented equally across the country.
Aside from fiscal savings, the decision to stop PMGKAY was unavoidable since buffer supplies of wheat and rice had fallen significantly in the past year, by 50% and 45 percent, respectively.