International Monetary Fund (IMF) has lauded India’s food subsidy program which prevented the increased prevalence of extreme poverty in the country during Covid-19.
What did the report say?
- In a report the IMF has said, the expansion of food transfers and subsidies make it an important instrument for poverty alleviation.
- Appreciating the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana, the report demonstrated that the program provided insurance to the poor and prevented an increase in the prevalence of extreme poverty in the country.
- It stated that doubling of entitlements in 2020 during pandemic helped maintain extreme poverty at the low 0.8 percent level. It also said, without any food subsidies, extreme poverty in the pandemic years would have increased by 1.05 per cent.
- The report said that poverty in the country declined the fastest during the period 2014 to 2019.
- The report also stated that social safety net provided by the expansion of country’s food subsidy program absorbed a major part of the pandemic shock. This illustrates the robustness of India’s social safety architecture as it withstood one of the world’s biggest income shocks.
What is ‘Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana’?
- The scheme was originally introduced in April 2020 a month into the first lockdown during the initial onset of the COVID pandemic.
- This will be the sixth phase of PM-GKAY. The Phase-V of the scheme was to end in March 2022.
- The government has spent approximately ₹2.6 lakh crore so far and another ₹80,000 crore will be spent over the next six months till September 2022, taking the total expenditure under PM-GKAY to nearly ₹3.4 lakh crore.
- The ration card portability has also helped in extending the schemes to the migrant workers.
- The benefit of free ration can be availed through portability by any migrant labourer or beneficiary under One Nation One Ration Card plan from nearly five lakh ration shops across the country. So far, over 61 crore portability transactions have benefitted the beneficiaries away from their homes.
- It provides for free of cost to all beneficiaries (Antyodaya Anna Yojana and Priority Household ration card holders) covered under Targeted Public Distribution System as per provisions of NFSA (including those covered under DBT).
- It was announced during the first phase of COVID19 pandemic lockdown in India.
- 80 crore poor people will to get 5 kg wheat or rice and 1 kg of preferred pulses for free every month till September 2022.