Guwahati: In his first cabinet meeting after taking oath as the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath on Saturday announced his government’s decision to extend the free ration scheme by three months.
The scheme had found mention in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s election speech as “Modi ka namak” and was a hit among people, especially women voters.
“This scheme was supposed to expire in March 2022. Today the cabinet has decided to extend the scheme for 15 crore people of the state,” Adityanath said, giving credit to the “double engine” government of the BJP.
Nearly 15 crore beneficiaries are provided ration per month free of cost under two schemes – the PMGKAY and the National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013. There are two kinds of cardholders who fall under the schemes – Antyodaya and Priority House Hold (PHH) cardholders.
While subsidised ration under the NFSA is an ongoing process, the PMGKAY was launched during the Covid lockdown, in April 2020. The first two phases of it lasted from April to November 2020, and the ration included 5 kg of wheat and rice and 1 kg of chana. Then it was revived from May to November 2021, while the current extension started in December 2021 and was to continue till March 2022.
Apart from funds from the Centre, the UP government is spending Rs 950 crore per month as an additional 1 kg chana, 1 kg oil and 1 kg of salt were being provided by the state government, which had also announced to make the subsidised ration also free.