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'11 states yet to start free food distribution under PMGKAY-2.0'

Union Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution Ram Vilas Paswan said that nearly 62 per cent of the foodgrain for July quota under the second phase of Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY-2.0) has been distributed among 49.87 crore beneficiaries of the National Food Security Act (NFSA) but 11 states and UTs have not yet started free distribution of foodgrain in July.

The union territories and states which are yet to start distribution of free food grains under PMGKAY 2.0 include West Bengal, Punjab, Uttrakhand, Nagaland and others.

The free distribution of food among NFSA beneficiaries under PMGKAY-2.0 will continue until November 2020.

During this period, a total of 201 lakh tonnes of food grains will be distributed among 81 crore beneficiaries, as well as a total of 12 lakh tonnes chana will be distributed among 19.4 crore families.

While speaking to media persons through video conferencing, Paswan said that total 24.94 lakh tonnes (62 per cent) food grains have been distributed among 49.87 crore beneficiaries in July.

In the current month of August, around 72,711 tonnes (1.8 per cent) food grains have been distributed among 1.45 crore beneficiaries by the states and UTs.

The slow pace of free distribution of foodgrain is also because some states distribute foodgrain bi-monthly and tri-monthly.

Wheat has been allocated to four States and UTs, rice has been allocated to 15 States/UTs and both rice and wheat have been allocated to the remaining 17 States/UTs, according to the Ministry.

The minister said that the total requirement for the next five months for Chana is 9.70 lakh tonnes of which 2.10 lakh tonnes have already been dispatched to states. However, only 11,979 tonnes of chana has been distributed so far.

The minister said under NFSA scheme, food grains (Wheat/Rice/Coarse Grains) are provided on subsidized rates to around 81 crore NFSA card holders. He said that the Government of India is bearing 91 per cent financial burden of the scheme, while States/UTs share only nine per cent financial burden of this scheme.

He reiterated that States/UTs should also acknowledge and inform beneficiaries while distributing the food grains under this scheme that these food grains are distributed with the help of central government sponsored schemes.

In the early three months of this scheme, i.e., PMGKAY-1.0, nearly 93.5 per cent of the allocated quota of food grain was distributed..