The Puducherry administration has distributed free rice to over 60 per cent of beneficiaries under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Ann Yojana to mitigate their sufferings and hardships due to the nationwide lockdown to combat the novel coronavirus, Lieutenant Governor Kiran Bedi has said.
Talking to PTI over phone, she said, "I sincerely thank Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the central government for helping the UT (Union Territory) administration to provide free rice for three months to 6.5 lakh poor and downtrodden beneficiaries to mitigate their hardship due to COVID-19 lockdown."
"Rice has already been distributed to over 60 per cent of the beneficiaries under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Ann Yojana. The UT government lifted 9,425 tonnes of additional rice from FCI (Food Corporation of India) and has already distributed over 6,000 tonnes," she said.
Similarly the Centre has increased daily wage to labourers under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) to Rs 259 from Rs 229 with effect from this month.
Puducherry is the first government in the country to start MGNREGA work after the Union Home Ministry relaxed lockdown guidelines from April 20, she said.
Likewise the Centre has credited Rs 500 each in bank accounts of 83,000 women beneficiaries in the first week of this month under the Pradhan Mantri Jhan Dhan Yojana, the former IPS officer said, adding that a whopping Rs 4.15 crore has reached the women beneficiaries in Puducherry.
The Ramon Magsaysay awardee of 1994 said 9,299 farmers of the UT have already received the first instalment of Rs 2,000 each (out of Rs 6,000 per year) under the PM Kisan Sanman Nidhi Yojana. Under the scheme, aimed at helping small and medium farmers, Rs 1,85,98,000 has been released for 2020-21.
"Remaining 913 farmers will receive the benefit by direct bank transfer shortly as the process is already on," she said.
Thanks to the pro-active Centre, the poor, marginalised, farmers, women and senior citizens are getting their benefits fast in the UT, Bedi said.
The lockdown was first announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 24 in a bid to combat the Coronavirus endemic. It was further extended till May 3.