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Extension of Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY)

Why is it in the news?

  • Indian Prime Minister has recently announced a five-year extension of the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY), a scheme providing 5kg of free foodgrains to eligible ration cardholders under the National Food Security Act, 2013 (NFSA).
  • This extension aims to continue addressing food security needs and supporting vulnerable populations.


  • PMGKAY was initiated in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Initially set to expire in December 2022, it was extended to December 2023 and now for an additional five years.
  • Over 1,118 lakh metric tonnes of foodgrains have been allocated, costing Rs 3.9 lakh crore.

 National Food Security Act, 2013 (NFSA)

  • NFSA, introduced in 2013, shifts the approach to food security from welfare to a rights-based approach.
  • It entitles up to 75% of the rural population and 50% of the urban population to subsidized food grains.
  • Beneficiaries include Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) and Priority Households (PHH), with ration cards issued in the name of the eldest woman in the household.
  • AAY households receive 35 kg of foodgrains monthly, while PHH receive 5 kg per person per month.

Merger of PMGKAY and NFSA

  • In January 2023, PMGKAY was integrated into NFSA, providing all rations for AAY and PHH families at no cost.
  • This merger eliminated extra provisions introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic by incorporating them into NFSA.

Impacts of PMGKAY Extension:

Positive Impacts:

  • Addresses immediate food security needs, ensuring access to essential food during crises.
  • Supports local farmers and rural economies through foodgrain procurement.
  • Promotes social cohesion and collective responsibility.

Negative Impacts:

  • Incurs significant fiscal costs and risks straining the fiscal deficit.
  • Disrupts market dynamics and may distort agricultural prices.
  • Creates dependency and may not be a sustainable long-term solution.
  • Encourages competitive populism and inconsistent policies.

Measures needed:  

  • Introduce digital vouchers (e-Rupi) for targeted beneficiaries to purchase nutritious food.
  • Develop technology platforms for efficient distribution of excess food to those in need.
  • Invest in economic empowerment programs like skill development and job training.
  • Gradually reduce subsidies while implementing alternative support systems to avoid shocks to vulnerable populations and the economy.

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