Chennai, July 5 (PTI) The Centre would provide nine lakh metric tonnes of food grains under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY) in the next five months to beneficiaries in Tamil Nadu, a senior official of the Food Corporation of India said on Monday.
R D Nazeem, executive director of the Food Corporation of India (FCI), said the move will entail an expenditure of Rs 3,375 crore.
It follows the Centre's decision to extend the PMGKY for five months from July to November 2021.
About 8.1 lakh MT of rice and 91,000 MT of wheat would be provided to the poor people, Nazeem said, adding that 'the Government of India fully understands that each state needs to hold its buffer requirement of food grains.' 'In Tamil Nadu, FCI Is holding 13.70 lakh MT of storage (buffer) space,' he told reporters here.
After understanding the need to augment capacities, FCI and its sister concerns such as Central Warehousing Corporation (CWC) and State Warehousing Corporation (SWC) have come forward to enhance the capacity from 13.70 lakh MT to 17.06 lakh MT.
'Hence, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry have enough storage for saving its foodgrains,' Nazeem said.
Further, the state government is encouraged to procure paddy locally through its agencies.
'Since the PMGKY was implemented from April 2020 (during the COVID lockdown), the Centre spent about Rs 7,588 crore to provide 16.5 lakh MT food grains, including 15.78 lakh MT rice, for free to beneficiaries in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry so far,' he said.
This was in addition to the normal monthly allocation of ration food grains issued under the National Food Security Act.
Around 3.57 crore beneficiaries are covered under NFSA in Tamil Nadu and are provided with additional five kg rice/ wheat per head free of cost.
Under this scheme, in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, an additional total quantity of 19,44,805 MT of rice from Andhra Pradesh and Telangana and 75,776 MT of wheat was moved from Punjab during 2020-21.
The entire cost of food grains moved for free issue under the centrally sponsored scheme costing about Rs 7,451.19 crore was borne by the exchequer, as the Centre was committed to mitigate the hardships of the poor during the pandemic period, Nazeem added.
The FCI has provided 10.09 lakh MT of food grains,costing Rs 3,354 crores at a highly subsidised rate to meet the additional requirement of the state for the universal PDS.
In addition, 40,800 quintals were provided to several non-governmental organisations and social welfare groups, involved in relief activities in the state and neighbouring Puducherry, to help the poor and needy during the lockdown.
'It will be ensured food grains reach every corner of the state as per allocations and the stated objective of the government that no poor person will have to remain hungry for want of food will be achieved,' said J S Syju, General Manager (TN), FCI. PTI JSP SA APR ADMINISTRATOR APR ADMINISTRATOR