New Delhi [India], November 29 (ANI): Union cabinet meeting, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Wednesday approved that the central government will provide free grains to eligible citizens under the public distribution scheme for another five years.

The PM Garib Kalyan Yojana was initially started during the start of the Covid pandemic, where ration card holders were entitled to receive an additional five kg grains (wheat or rice of individual's choice). Also, chana was also being provided as part of the additional food distribution programme.

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The centre's intention to extend the PM Garib Kalyan Yojana was mentioned by Prime Minister Modi himself during his election rallies earlier this month.

The Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) was launched in April 2020 with the specific purpose of ameliorating the hardships faced by the poor and needy due to economic disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.

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Initially, in 2020-21, the PMGKAY scheme was announced only for a period of three months (April- June 2020), however, it was extended until December 2022 in seven consecutive phases.

It benefitted 80 crore beneficiaries.

During an election rally in Durg on November 4, Chhattisgarh the Prime Minister had made the announcement of the decision to extend the free ration scheme.

"I have decided that the BJP government will extend the scheme of providing free ration to 80 crore poor people of the country for the next 5 years. Your affections and blessings give me the power to take such decisions, " PM Modi had said. The Prime Minister had said that the money saved by the poor through the extension of scheme will help them meet other needs. He had said that guarantee by Modi means the promise will be fulfilled.

Earlier, the Central Government had decided to remove the financial burden of the poor beneficiaries and to ensure nationwide uniformity and effective implementation of NFSA, and had decided to provide foodgrains free of cost to the beneficiaries covered under NFSA, 2013, for a period of one year, beginning January 01, 2023. (ANI)

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