PM Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana

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    In Context

    • Recently, the Union government has named its new free foodgrain scheme under the National Food Security Act, 2013, as ‘Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY)’.

    More about the scheme

    • About:
      • The new integrated food security scheme for providing free food grains to Antodaya Anna Yojna (AAY) & Primary Household (PHH) beneficiaries, is rolled out from 1st January 2023.
      • The integrated scheme is expected to strengthen the provisions of NFSA, 2013 in terms of accessibility, affordability and availability of foodgrains for the poor.
    • Free foodgrains for 2023:
      • Keeping in view welfare of the beneficiaries and in order to maintain uniformity across the States, free foodgrains will be provided under PMGKAY for the year 2023 to all PHH and AAY beneficiaries, as per entitlement under NFSA. 
    • Ministry:
      • The Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution and state-run Food Corporation of India (FCI) along with state governments will look out for smooth roll out of the new scheme.

    Different than Centre’s Covid-19 package

    • The name of the new scheme is similar to that of the free foodgrain scheme implemented as part of the Centre’s Covid-19 package announced in 2020. 
    • Previous scheme:
      • The difference between the two schemes is that about 81 crore NFSA beneficiaries were entitled to get free of cost 5 kg foodgrain per person in a month over and above their monthly entitlements. 
      • However, they were required to pay the subsidised rate of foodgrains (Rs 3 per kg rice, Rs 2 per kg wheat and Rs 1 per kg coarse grains) to purchase the quantity for which they were entitled–35 kg per Antyoday Anna Yojana Household and 5kg per person to a Priority Household in a month.
    • New Scheme:
      • In the new scheme, the government has done away with the subsided prices and is providing food grains free of cost for a year
      • But now the additional quantity, which was available during the Covid pandemic, will not be provided to these beneficiaries. 
      • They will receive as much quantity of foodgrains, for which they are entitled under the NFSA.

    What is Food security?

    • It is access to enough food by all people at all times for an active and healthy life. 
    • Three Dimensions:  
      • Food availability,  
      • Food accessibility &  
      • Food affordability.

    National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013

    • About:
      • It was enacted in July 2013
      • It gives legal entitlement to 67% of the population (75% in rural areas and 50% in urban areas) to receive highly subsidized foodgrains.
        • Under the Targeted Public Distribution System (TPDS), foodgrains were sold at highly subsidized prices of Rs. 1/-, Rs. 2/- and Rs. 3/- per kg for nutri-cereals, wheat and rice respectively.
    • Ministry:
      • The Department of Food and Public Distribution under the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution is the nodal ministry for implementing this Act.
    • Eligibility: 
      • Under sub-section (1) of Section 3 of the Act, the term “eligible households” comprises two categories
        • Priority household category is entitled to 5 kg per person per month.
        • Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) families are entitled to 35 kg per family per month.
    • Issues:
      • Population figures and census:
        • The coverage under the NFSA is still as per the population figures of 2011 census.
        • The Union, in its affidavit, had stated in court that the Act required coverage to be updated as per the latest published census figures
          • However, the NFSA coverage cannot be determined as the 2021 census has been postponed indefinitely and no date has been notified.
        • Due to the absence of the latest population figures, over 10 crore people were left outside the food security law’s protective umbrella without even ration cards.

    Government’s recent efforts to increase coverage under National Food Security Act (NFSA):

    • One Nation One Ration Card (ONORC):
      • It was rolled out by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution in 2019.
      • Aim: 
        • To ensure hassle-free delivery of subsidised food grains to all migratory beneficiaries anywhere in the country through nation-wide portability under National Food Security Act (NFSA).
      • About:
        • It empowers all National Food Security Act (NFSA) migrant beneficiaries to access foodgrains from any Fair Price Shop (FPS) of their choice anywhere in the country by using their same/existing ration card with biometric authentication.
        • A card bearing 10 digit number will be issued to the complaint state’s BPL card holders which will be linked to the Aadhar database.
        • Electronic point of sale:
          • Beneficiaries can get their entitled foodgrains from any electronic point of sale (ePoS) enabled FPS in the country through portability.
      • MERA RATION mobile application: 
        • Another dimension under the ONORC plan is the ‘MERA RATION’ mobile application which has been rolled out to take maximum advantage of the ONORC plan.
        • The mobile app is providing a host of useful real time information to the beneficiaries and is available in 13 languages.
    • e-Shram Portal:
      • About: 
        • The portal was launched on August 26, 2021 under the Ministry of Labour & Employment
        • This portal will be a single-point reference to help authorities reach out to and track workers in the informal sector, and offer welfare in times of crisis. 
      • Aim: 
        • with the aim of creating a national database of unorganised workers (NDUW)
      • e-Shram Card: 
        • Workers will be provided with an e-SHRAM card which will have a 12 digit unique number
        • The details of workers will also be shared by the state government and departments.

    Source: TH