Up to 80 crore poor Indians will receive free rations till Diwali, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced today. This will be part of the extended Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY).
It was in October 2020 that PM Modi first announced that India had been providing free ration worth about Rs 1.5 lakh crore to about 80 crore poor amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
"This year, too, due to the second wave (of the pandemic), the scheme was implemented for May and June. Today, the government has decided to extend PMGKY till Deepawali. During the pandemic, the government is standing with the poor. Till November, a fixed quantity of free foodgrain will be made available to more than 80 crore people," he said.
Under the PMGKAY, the Centre is distributing 5 kg foodgrain per person per month free of cost to approximately 79.39 crore beneficiaries, who are covered under the National Food Security Act (NFSA). This is over and above the regular NFSA allocation to beneficiaries.
The Prime Minister today strongly defended his government's vaccination policy and announced that the Centre would take back control of vaccination from states and provide free vaccines to all over the next two weeks.
India continued to improve its Covid count with the country today recording 1.06 lakh cases, a drop of 12 per cent from yesterday's 1.14 lakh infections -- the lowest in two months. The country's caseload now stands at 2.89 crore.
The positivity rate, the number of positive cases identified per 100, has dropped to 6.33 per cent. India has been reporting positivity rate below 10 per cent for 14 consecutive days now.
Several states have announced cautious steps towards restarting activities after over a month following a dip in Covid cases. States like Haryana and Sikkim have announced that their Covid lockdown will continue till June 14.