The central govt. is going to revise guidelines for Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Ann Yojana 2020-21. In the new form, central govt. may remove requirement of ration card or ID to avail food items under PM Garib Kalyan Ann Yojana. This new free food distribution scheme will work without any RC or ID necessity to increase its coverage. The central government is already in the process of releasing 12 million MT of food grains during April to June 2020.
As announced in the PM Garib Kalyan Yojana Package, govt. will provide food to 80 crore people at 5 kg per head per month absolutely free of cost. Moreover, around 2 crore beneficiaries have already availed benefits of free ration scheme. Free Food For All Scheme is a necessity with the likelihood of Coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown extended beyond 14 April 2020.
The free food distribution scheme will ensure adequate food supply to migrant labourers, daily wagers and urban poor who do not have required ration with them.
PM Garib Kalyan Ann Yojana 2020-21 without Ration Card / ID Proof
As per the recommendations from empowered groups and senior officials of govt., ration card and other ID requirements are to be removed. This will enlarge access to food under PM Garib Kalyan Ann Yojana 2020-21 which is a flagship scheme of Modi government. The govt. may then distribute free food to anyone who needs it during COVID-19 lockdown and until normalcy resumes. In the Rs. 1.70 lakh crore PM Garib Kalyan Yojana package, providing free food items to people was sought as an urgent requirement.
The Prime Minister’s Office is currently examining this recommendation of removal of ration card and ID proof requirement during free food distribution. It is necessary because many workers in unorganized sector are still not within the public distribution system (PDS) network. Moreover, it may be possible that daily wage workers in other states may have left their ration card back at their home for their families to use. They rely on daily earnings to survive and are now quite helpless.
It is a suggestion that the central govt. ask all state govt’s to distribute free food items and grains to people without ID card / ration card. This step must be taken and implemented at the earliest keeping in view the unprecedented situation we are in. It is also advised that dry food ration should be simply distributed to whoever needs it without insisting on ration card. The
PM Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana in PMGKY Package
The advise of doing away of ID requirement in PM Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana will ensure that no one goes without food. The central govt. has enough food stocks in the godowns of Food Corporation of India, so this decision can be taken easily. As per the announcement in PMGKY package of Rs. 1.7 lakh crore, the following are the features of this scheme:-
- Around 80 crore people would be benefited.
- All poor people including daily wagers, migrant labourers, urban poor etc would be provided with free ration.
- For next 3 months, each family will get 5 kg wheat / rice (ration) & 1 kg pulses per month.
- The procurement is to be done through nearest public distribution centres or fair price shops.
It is felt that central govt. can push states to do away with paperwork requirements at-least temporarily. However, access to this free food requires showing the relevant ration card at the fair-price shops or public distribution centre stores. Delhi govt. has already removed the ration card requirement for availing food items but other states are yet to follow.
Progress of PM Garib Kalyan Yojana
Till 10 April 2020, the distribution of money to needy ones through DBT mode is shown in the image below:-
Some states have announced transfer of funds directly into accounts of ration card holders. A recent study by the International Food Policy Research Institute on how India’s food safety net is responding to Covid-19 also pointed to this issue. The study observes that PDS coverage in urban areas is low at about 50% leaving out many urban poor. This suggests the need to “expand the list of eligible households” at least for now.