Food subsidy is likely to be less than Rs 4 lakh crore in the current financial year, compared to Rs 5.29 lakh crore of 2020-21, a top official said on Thursday.
Food secretary Sudhanshu Pandey told media persons that the government is expecting little less than Rs 4 lakh crore food subsidy this year, adding that around Rs 2.25 lakh crore food subsidy is estimated for procurement and distribution of foodgrains under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) and an additional Rs 1.47 lakh crore has been incurred for implementing the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY), he said.
Government provides highly subsidised foodgrains at Rs 1-3 per kg to over 81 crore people through the public distribution system (PDS) under NFSA.
In addition to this, the government during the pandemic is also supplying free foodgrains to NFSA beneficiaries under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Ann Yojana (PMGKAY). This scheme has been extended multiple times and is now valid till March 2022.
Mr Pandey also said the year 2021 was "an extraordinary year" for many reasons as the government made extraordinary efforts that were unprecedented in nature amid the pandemic circumstances.
One is that state-owned FCI undertook major transformation changes and there has also been 62 per cent growth in the ethanol blending program this year. Ethanol blending with petrol increased from 5 per cent to 8.1 per cent in one year, the highest ever, he said.
Under the "One Nation, One Ration Card" (ONORC), there has been over 50 crore portable transactions, which delivered more than Rs 33,000 crore subsidy through foodgrains.