Only 20.26 lakh migrants received free food grains so far: Govt data


PTI, Jun 8, 2020, 10:30 AM IST

New Delhi: The state governments have been able to supply free foodgrains to only 20.36 lakh migrant beneficiaries so far against the target of 8 crore migrants, who do not have central or state ration cards, according to data released by the Union Food Ministry on Sunday.

To ensure migrants do not go hungry due to the COVID-19 lockdown, the central government had on May 14 announced 5 kg free foodgrains per person and 1 kg chana per family to 8 crore migrants for two months as part of the Rs 20 lakh crore economic package. The free food is to be distributed to those who do not have either central or state ration cards.

In a statement, the Union Food Ministry said, “The states and union territories have lifted 4.42 lakh tones of foodgrains and distributed 10,131 tonnes of foodgrains to 20.26 lakh beneficiaries”.

The analysis of the data shows that the number of migrant beneficiaries who have received free grains comprises only 2.25 percent of the total target. Also, the quantity of grains distributed remains less compared to the total of 7.99 lakh tonnes to be distributed in May and June.

States have adopted different models for the distribution of free foodgrains to migrants. Some are distributing cooked meals along with dry ration, while some are issuing food coupons.

In the case of the free distribution of chana, the ministry said that it approved 39,000 tonnes of the pulse for distribution to 1.96 crore migrant families for two months.

Around 28,306 tonnes of chana/chana dal has been dispatched to the states and UTs. Out of which, 15,413 tonnes have been lifted, it said.

“631 tonnes of gram has been distributed by the states and UTs,” it added.

Similarly, under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY), states have achieved 92.45 percent coverage in the distribution of free grains in April, 87.33 percent in May, while 17.47 percent so far in June.

States have lifted 105.10 lakh tonnes of grains, of which 36.98 lakh tonne in April, 34.93 lakh tonne in June and 6.99 lakh tonne so far in June, it said.

As regards pulses, the total requirement for the three months is 5.87 lakh tonne. So far, 4.71 lakh tonnes of pulses have reached the states/UTs, while 2.67 lakh tonnes of pulses has been distributed, the ministry added.

Under the PMGKAY, the government is providing 5 kg free foodgrains per ration card-holder and 1 kg pulses per beneficiary family for three months till June. This is over and above the subsidized grains given under the National Food Security Act.

Since the lockdown was announced on March 24, the ministry said about 111.02 lakh tonnes of foodgrains have been lifted and transported through 3,965 rail rakes. Apart from the rail route, transportation was also done through roads and waterways.

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