States/UTs lift 69.28 lakh tonnes free foodgrains under PMGAY: Centre

New Delhi, May 6 (PTI) States and union territories (UTs) have so far lifted 69.28 lakh tonnes of foodgrains under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Anna Yojana (PMGAY) for free distribution to the poor ration card holders and help them sail through the COVID-19 crisis, according to the Union Food Ministry.

Around 14 states/UTs have lifted foodgrains for one month, 18 states for two months and five UTs for the entire three months in one go under the PMGAY, it added.

In March-end, the government announced free distribution of 5 kg foodgrains to each of 81 crore ration card holders for three months from April to June. This is over and above 5 kg allocation at a subsidised rate to each beneficiary under the National Food Security Act (NFSA).

'There has been enthusiastic response from the state governments against this scheme and a quantity of 69.28 lakh tonnes has already been lifted up to May 6,' the ministry said in a statement.

This means, about 57 per cent of the total allocation of 120 lakh tonnes has been lifted so far under the scheme.

Though overall lifting has been encouraging, the ministry said there are variations among the states in the pattern of lifting under the scheme.

So far, five UTs including Chandigarh, Puducherry, Andaman and Nicobar, Ladakh and Lakshadweep have lifted entire three months' foodgrains under the PMGAY.

About 18 states including Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand, Odisha, Telangana, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Himachal Pradesh have lifted foodgrains for two months.

About 14 states such as Punjab, Delhi, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Haryana, Bihar, Gujarat, Assam, Manipur and Nagaland have lifted foodgrains for one month.

'Every support is being extended to the states by the Food Corporation of India (FCI) for completing the lifting of stocks in the earliest,' the ministry said.

The Centre is incurring an expenditure of about Rs 46,000 crore for supply of free grains under the PMGAY, which is being implemented without any financial burden on state governments, it added. PTI LUX MKJ