New Delhi [India], June 30 (ANI): Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday gave credit to the farmers and taxpayers for enabling the Centre to provide free foodgrains during the COVID-19 phase to the poor and needy in the country.

"If the government today is able to provide free grains to the poor and needy today then the credit goes to two sections of people. The first are our hardworking farmers, our food providers and the second are the honest taxpayers of the country," Modi said in his address today.

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"You have submitted your taxes honestly, fulfilled your responsibility, that is why today the country's poor are able to fight off this big problem. Today along with each poor, every farmer, I heartily greet every taxpayer and bow down to them," he added.

The Prime Minister had said that during the lockdown phase the Centre had made it its priority to ensure that no one goes hungry in the country. He said that the collective efforts of the centre, state government, and civil societies had all been aimed at ensuring that nobody goes to sleep on an empty stomach in the country.

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Explaining the steps taken by the Centre to provide help to the people during this phase he said, "With the start of the lockdown the government came up with Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana. In the past three months, Rs 31 thousand crore was directly deposited in the Jan-Dhan accounts of 20 crore poor families. Upwards of 18 thousand crore were also deposited in the bank accounts of over 9 crore farmers."

He added that the whole world had been astonished by India providing more than 80 crore people with three months of rations i.e. 5 kilograms of wheat or rice per month during this phase.

"More than two and a half times of America's population, 12 times of Britain's population, and twice the population of European Union was provided free grains by our government during this phase," Modi said.

The PM also announced the extension of PM Garib Kalyan Ann Yojana for a period of five months, keeping the upcoming festival season in mind, till November.

"From July the festival seasons start, Guru Purnima will be celebrated on July 5. Following this, the month of Saawan will start. In this season of festivals, the needs and expenses of all increases. Keeping this in mind, the PM Garib Kalyan Ann Yojana has been extended till Diwali and Chatth Puja, i.e till the end of November," he said. The scheme was announced by the Centre as part of the first rescue package during the COVID-19 pandemic and was coming to an end on June 30. (ANI)

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