Odisha’s ruling BJD urges Centre for restart of PMGKAY for food security of poor

Bhubaneswar: Following presentation of annual budget for the year 2023-24 in Parliament, the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) appealed to the Centre for resumption of Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) for the food security of poor.

Addressing a presser here today, BJD Vice President Debi Prasad Mishra said that Centre was providing additional 5kg free rice per person under the PMGKAY programme apart from 5kg rice under National Food Security Act (NFSA). However, the discontinuation of the scheme will affect the household food security of poor as well as farmers.

In the recent budget, the Centre has reduced in the food security by about Rs 71,000 crore as compared to the amount spent by the Centre in 2021-22.

“This will affect the household food security of the poor. This reduction is primarily due to the stopping of PMGKAY programme. After the COVID pandemic, the industries and livelihood is still to come back to normalcy. The poor had lost whatever little savings they had in the pandemic. Economic life hasn’t returned to normal. Stopping of PMGKAY now will affect the poor and their chance to get their live back to normalcy after pandemic,” the BJD said in a release.

The farmers will also be affected by the stopping of PMGKAY. The recent budget has also seen a reduction of about Rs.20,000 Crores as compared to the amount spent by the Centre in 2021-22 in the procurement of foodgrains. This is again due to the stopping of PMGKAY and therefore reduction in procurement from farmers. This reduction will impact farmers. Due to reduction in procurement, the farmers will also be deprived of getting their Minimum Support Price (MSP) for sale of foodgrains, the release read.

After providing PMGKAY for two years, its sudden withdrawal will severely affect the poor. Before stopping such a huge programme, the Centre should have either provided an alternate programme or taken care of the financial adverse impact it could cause to the poor, the BJD leader said.

In the interests of poor and farmers, the Centre should think on these lines and restart the the PMGKAY programme, Mishra said.

BJD Spokespersons Lenin Mohanty and Harish Choudhary were also present at the press meet.

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