New free foodgrain scheme as an illusion

New free foodgrain scheme as an illusion

New free foodgrain scheme as an illusion, doublespeak

#GS-02 Governance, Social Security

For Prelims

Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PM-GKAY)

  • Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PM-GKAY) is part of Atmanirbhar Bharat aimed at supplying free food grains to migrants and poor.
  • Families which belong to the Below Poverty Line, Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) and Priority Households (PHH) categories will be eligible for the scheme.
  • The scheme is created under the National Food Security Act 2013.
  • It provides an additional 5 kg grains (wheat or rice) for free, in addition to the 5 kg of subsidised foodgrain already provided through the Public Distribution System (PDS).
  • Ministry of Finance is selected as the nodal ministry for the scheme.
  • The Union government has discontinued the PMGKAY from January 1, 2023.

National Food Security Act 2013

  • The National Food Security Act (NFSA) 2013 was passed by the Indian Parliament on July 5, 2013.
  • According to the Act, up to 75% of the rural population, as well as 50% of the urban population, have been entitled for subsidised foodgrains through the Targeted Public Distribution System.
  • NFSA 2013 categorises the eligible citizens into Antyodaya Anna Yojana(AAY) households and Priority Households (PHH).
  • The National Food Security Act of 2013 (NFSA) has been implemented throughout India’s States and UTs.
  • The eldest woman of the beneficiary household who is18 years or above is considered ‘Head of Family’ for the purpose of issuing ration cards.
  • NFSA marks a paradigm shift in food security schemes by changing from a welfare approach to a rights based approach.


For Mains

The issues with NFSA and PMGKAY

  • Since ration records have not been updated since the 2011 Census more than 40% of India’s population is currently excluded from both the NFSA and PMGKAY.
  • The most marginalised castes and communities, such as migrants, sex workers, the homeless and transgender persons are often left outside the NFSA.
  • Based on population projections, at least 100 million beneficiaries, especially children born since 2010, have been missing from ration lists.

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