Free ration for 80 crore Indians indicator of economic distress and inequality, says Congress
New Delhi: The Congress on Sunday slammed PM Modi’s assurance to continue free ration for 80 crore Indians for five more years, saying it showed deep economic distress and growing inequality in society. The PM announced Chhattisgarh on November 4 while referring to the PM Garib Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY), which will expire in December.
The PMGKY was launched in 2020 to deal with the impact of the pandemic and was later merged with the National Food Security Act (NFSA), which was passed by the previous UPA government in 2013. The NFSA entitled 67 per cent of Indians to a right to food and covered 75 per cent of rural and 50 per cent of the urban population, who would receive subsidised grains.
“If more than 50 percent of the citizens have to be given free ration it indicates a high level of economic distress and growing inequality in society. That issue was flagged by Rahul Gandhi during his Bharat Jodo Yatra. The reality is that the incomes of a large number of people have not increased in line with the high prices of essential items. Besides, there is the highest ever unemployment in the country,” AICC secretary in-charge of Chhattisgarh Chandan Yadav told Aryan Age.
“The PM Garib Kalyan Yojana is nothing, but the National Food Security Act passed by the previous UPA government passed in 2013, which mandated free ration to the poor. When Modi was the Chief Minister of Gujarat, he used to oppose the NFSA consistently. But now, he is using the same NFSA with a different name,” he said.
At present, the beneficiaries need to pay a nominal charge of Rs 1 to 3 per kg for food grains under the NFSA. Five kg of grains per person per month is given to the beneficiaries as per the NFSA and 35 kg of grains per family are given to the beneficiaries under the Antyodaya Anna Yojana.
The AICC functionary said that though the Centre was trying to confuse the people over the 5 kg free ration from its quota, the Bhupesh Baghel government in Chhattisgarh will continue to provide 35 kg subsidised rice to the beneficiaries under its scheme. He also said that even during the model code, the State government has started purchasing 20 quintals of paddy per acre and 10 quintals of maize per acre from the farmers at MSP from November 1 onwards as part of a commitment.
“This was done to benefit the farmers in the Kharif season. Rahul Gandhi recently met and interacted with the farmers in the state and we are committed to their uplift,” said Yadav. According to the AICC functionary, Congress was concerned about the farmers and had earlier passed the MGNREGA rural jobs to take care of the rural poor.
“The Modi government first made fun of MGNREGA saying it promoted corruption, but later on adopted it when he realised its importance in the villages during the pandemic. Our leader works with the farmers during the sowing season and the harvesting season to understand the problems of the farmers first hand unlike the BJP which brought three controversial laws against the food growers,” Yadav added.