Extension of PMGKY will benefit 80 crore Indians
(The writer can be reached at
minakshimishra [email protected])
Prime Minister Narendra Modi's crucial sixth address to the nation, announcing the extension of PMGKY scheme, turned the political narrative in the Government's favour, even as a section of the country geared up to roast the Union government over its poor handling of COVID-19 pandemic, and taking a restraint stance on the recent India-China face-off at the Galwan valley.
How did the tables turn?
Under (PMGKY), the beneficiaries will benefit immensely. The extension of such a robust scheme deserves appreciation because it will be taking care of the basic need of the poorest of the poor. As the ongoing pandemic, is showing no signs of slowing down, economic recovery and income regaining are a far cry. The Modi government aims to fulfill a primary need for pet bhar khana in the present uncertainty.
What the common men can look forward to now?
With the most basic need taken care of, sixty per cent of grassroots workers can now look beyond hunger and look ahead towards non-food demands. It will be a big step towards bringing the non-farming economic sector on the right track.
However, we cannot turn a blind eye to the hidden political motives in the PM's mention of expenditure during the festival season in the ensuing months. With the Bihar elections round the corner and Chhath festival being the most awaited celebration in the state, the Prime Minister subtle hint speaks volumes. But as they say, politics is a two-edged sword, so we can ignore the political twist if it ensures the welfare of the masses in the long run, can't we?
The helping hand:
Even as the country inched towards crossing the milestone of 5.5 lakh COVID-19 countdown on June 30, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while addressing the people, announced that the Government is extending the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana till the end of November.
Urging the nation to strictly adhere to all social distancing norms to break the chain of the spread, the Prime Minister also requested the authorities to be more responsible towards the strict implementation of the social distancing guidelines laid down for unlock 2.0.
Emphasizing that providing food to the needy during the lockdown has always been a priority of the country, the Prime Minister laid stress on the grants towards the poor that the government is disbursing through PM Garib Kalyan Yojana. He said that it includes a package of Rs 1.75 lakh crore for the poor and is already on the move. Giving a recap of the aid towards the vulnerable section of the society during the last three months, he recounted that Rs 31,000 crore transferred to the Jan Dhan accounts would be benefitting almost 20 crore families. And an additional transfer of Rs 18,000 crore to the bank accounts of more than nine crore farmers along with Rs, 50,000 crore is being spent on PM Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyan, which aims to provide employment opportunities.
The enormous aid to the vulnerable section of the nation has made the entire world take notice. The number of people who were beneficiaries of the free ration is several times the population of many large countries, he said. The Prime Minister was quick to point out that all this was possible only due to the hard work of the farmers and the sincerity of the taxpayers. He credited and thanked the farmers and taxpayers for their efforts that made it possible for the government to procure and distribute free food grains.
Stating that the government will be spending more than Rs 90,000 crore towards the extension of the scheme, the Prime Minister said that if we calculate the amount disbursed in the previous three months, together, a total of almost Rs 1.5 lakh crore is being spent towards the scheme.
The ensuing months are also the festival months that include Guru Purnima, Rakshabandhan, Shri Krishna Janmashtami, Ganesh Chaturthi, Onam, Dussehra, Deepawali, Chhath Puja, among others. Therefore, keeping in mind that requirements as well as expenditure increases during this time, the government has decided to extend PM Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana till Deepawali and Chhath Puja. i.e. the scheme shall remain applicable from July till the end of November, said the Prime Minister while elaborating on the reasons behind the decision to extend a helping hand to the poor for the next three months.
The 80 crore beneficiaries would get free ration for three months, including 5 kg free rice/wheat and one kg pulses to each member of the family, noted that with the onset of the monsoon season, crucial work takes place in the agriculture sector.
Extending further benefits the Prime Minister added another gift stating that the country is moving towards the institution of 'one nation, one ration card', which will immensely benefit the poor.
The Prime Minister expressed his disappointment that people were getting casual about following the social distancing norms and the lockdown guidelines. He stressed the need for following safety norms sincerely. The Prime Minister noted that the shift of the fight against the coronavirus to Unlock two coincides with the weather which may result in several ailments. So it was necessary to be cautious in taking health care measures.
He also pointed out that due to timely decisions like lockdown, it has been possible to save the lives of lakhs of people and the death rate in the country is among the lowest in the world. However, the irresponsible and negligent behaviour of the people was of concern, and he regretted that it had been on the rise during Unlock 1, he said, adding that earlier people were more careful about donning masks and maintaining do gaz doori.
Emphasizing the need for same seriousness that was there during the earlier phase of the lockdown, especially in the Containment Zones, he urged the people to spread awareness amidst those not following such rules and regulations. The Prime Minister cited the example of a leader of a country being slapped a fine of Rs 13,000 for not wearing a mask in a public place. We in India will need to act on the same principles because no one, including the Prime Minister, is above the rule of law.
Looking ahead, the Prime Minister said that in the coming times, the government aims to strive to empower the poor and the needy. He hinted that economic activities would also be enhanced while maintaining lockdown guidelines and with due precautions in place. Reiterating the pledge to work towards Atmanirbhar Bharat and to be vocal for locals, while also asking the people to carefully follow the sanitization and social distancing norms he asked everyone to maintain do gaz doori. (PIB)