Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh has urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to extend the benefits under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) for another six months in view of the COVID crisis to facilitate free wheat and pulses to the beneficiaries of National Food Security Act (NFSA).
In a letter to the Prime Minister, Amarinder Singh said the extension would go a long way in ensuring that the poor and the needy do not sleep hungry, and also enable them to make both ends meet.
Punjab CM Amarinder Singh urges PM Modi to extend PMGKAY
The Chief Minister urged Modi to advise the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution accordingly.
Noting that the early announcement of the PMGKAY had provided major relief to the poor NFSA beneficiaries during the difficult times of COVID, he said the nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic had not only slowed down the country's economy but also led to a major reduction in the incomes and savings of the people.
Underlining the need to further extend the benefit, the Chief Minister pointed out that with the lockdown now touching almost three months, the economic situation of the people, especially the poor, had not improved much even after resumption of industrial activities in Punjab.
Of the 2.60 lakh industrial units in the state, more than 2.32 lakh units had resumed operations, but the loss of wages over the past few months had severely crippled the purchasing power of the people, especially the poor NFSA beneficiaries, he said.
Further, the number of Covid-19 cases was also seeing a steep upward trend daily after relaxations, and further lockdown and restrictions could not be ruled out, said Amarinder Singh, adding that extension of PMGKAY for six months would be of immense help to the needy NFSA beneficiaries in these trying times.