The COVID-19 pandemic terror has been controlled in India through a number of Central Government policies like vaccination on a national scale & providing free ration to the poorest so that they could bear through the rough patch of the pandemic period.
The free ration scheme known as “Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana” ( PMGKAY) will be continued to be operational till the end of this fiscal year; the additional expenses required for the continuity will be amounting to Rs. 53,345 Crores totalling the expenditure till date to Rs. 1.47 lakh Crores.
The PMGKAY was first to run in March 2020; it was initially introduced for the period from April to June then, later on, got extended to November end; it was restarted in May 2021 when India was hit by the second wave of COVID-19 virus infection till the end of this month of November 2021.
The scheme offers each individual recipient family 5kg of Wheat/ Rice & 1kg of preferred pulses totally free from any charge; it was estimated that approximately around 80 crores of the population benefitted from the launch of the Free Ration Scheme.
The centre had spent Rs. 1.34 lakh Crores in the fiscal year 2021, plans for the fiscal year 2022 are to spend Rs.2.43 lakh Crores, and distribution logistics have lifted around 94% of the grain load for the period of July to November 2021.
The food subsidy spent by the central government in the fiscal year 2021 amounted to Rs. 5.25 lakh Crores which was Rs. 1 lakh crore over the planned revised estimate; paying off the debts of FCI (Food Corporation of India) by the central Government hoping to clear debts from its balance sheet resulted in a spike in the Food subsidy budget.
The Government has also declared that farmers who were to be beneficiaries of the “PM-Kisan Scheme” launched in February 2019 would cost the Government Rs. 65000 crores in the fiscal year 2022, initially this scheme was supposed to cover only small farmers, but later on, all landowners were included.
The current beneficiaries of the scheme are 11 crores; the additional financial cost of PMGKAY will still keep the central government’s budgeted fiscal deficit target of 6.8% of GDP intact for the Fiscal year 2022.