80 Crore Poor to Get Free Food Grains Till November-End, Announces PM Modi

Narendra Modi Speech LIVE Updates: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday announced in his address to the nation that the government will extend the PM Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana to provide free ration to 80 crore poor till the end of November.

"Keeping in mind all the festivals that are coming up in the next few months, this scheme to provide 80 crore people with 5 kg free ration and 1 kg dal per month will now be extended till Diwali and Chhath Puja, or till the end of November," PM Modi said in an address to the nation.

The PM also said negligence in social and personal behaviour seen during 'Unlock 1' was cause for concern at a time it was even more critical to take precautions against coronavirus. "Earlier, we were careful about masks, do gaj doori and washing our hands. We were very careful. But now, when we need to be more cautious, increasing carelessness is cause for concern. People have to become cautious again, especially in containment zones," PM Modi said.

This was Modi's sixth such televised address since the outbreak of the coronavirus outbreak in the country. His address came amid a surge in coronavirus cases that has shown little sign of slowing down.

Hours before the address, Prime Minister Modi chaired a high-level meeting to review the planning and preparations for vaccination against Covid-19. In the meeting, the PM noted that vaccination of India’s vast and diverse population will need to factor in issues including those related to management of medical supply chains, prioritization of at-risk populations, coordination between different agencies involved in the process, as well as the role of private sector and civil society in this national endeavour.

PM Modi's address comes ALSO against the backdrop of a bitter standoff between Indian and Chinese troops in eastern Ladakh where 20 Indian army personnel were killed in clashes on June 15 in Galwan Valley. In his monthly "Mann ki Baat" address on Sunday, Modi had asserted that India has given a befitting reply to those who cast an evil eye on its territory in Ladakh. “Bharat mitrata nibhana jaanta hai, toh, aankh mein aankh dalkar dekhna aur uchit jawab dena bhi janta hai. Hamare veer sainikon ne dikha dia ke vo Maa Bharti ke gaurav par aanch nahi aane denge (India knows how to maintain friendship but also look our enemy in the eye and retaliate if the need arises. Our brave soldiers have proved that they willnot let any harm come on their motherland),” he said.

India and China have been attempting to defuse the border row after 20 Indian Army personnel, including a colonel, were killed in a clash with Chinese troops in the Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh on June 15, the biggest military confrontation in over five decades that has significantly escalated the already volatile border standoff in the region. Sources peg the number of casualties on the Chinese side at 43. At present, the third round of Corps Commander-level talks between the two sides are on in Chushul on the Indian side.

As India deals with its neighbours one hand, the coronavirus pandemic on the other refuses to relent. With 18,522 people testing positive for coronavirus in a single day, India's COVID-19 tally climbed to 5,66,840 on Tuesday while the death toll rose to 16,893 with 418 new fatalities, according to the Union Health Ministry data. The country will also be entering "Unlock 2" from July 1 for which guidelines were issued by the Union Home Ministry on Monday night, further easing the restrictions imposed due to the coronavirus lockdown.

In his Mann ki Baat address, PM Modi had urged the people to be more vigilant in the unlock phase and take necessary precautions, stressing not doing so will put at risk their lives and those of others. In his recent interaction with chief ministers, Modi had urged them to think about phase 2 of unlocking to boost the economy hit by the pandemic and the lockdown.