Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking extension of the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) for another eight months beyond November 30.
In his letter, Patnaik said the effect of Covid-19 has not waned away yet completely despite a fast-paced vaccination drive undertaken across the state as new infection cases continue to surface.
Also, other economic activities are yet to reach the pre-pandemic level as a result of which people still struggle to lead a normal life with sustainable means of livelihood, he said.
“Under the prevailing situations, it is felt highly necessary that the government must provide relief to the vulnerable during these critical hours,” Patnaik said, adding, a serious cause of concern in the ongoing pandemic is the challenge of food security to the needy and vulnerable.
“Since adequate foodgrains are available at present with the government, I would request you to kindly consider extension of additional allocation of rice at least for the next eight months under PMGKAY for distribution among the beneficiaries under National Food Security Act (NFSA) till the pandemic situation improves and complete normalcy is restored in the state,” he urged the Prime Minister.
In the letter, Patnaik also thanked Prime Minister Modi for providing seven months of rice free of cost under the PMGKAY for distribution to NFSA beneficiaries in the state from May 2021 to November 2021 during the Covid-19 pandemic period.
He further said that provision of foodgrains free of cost to people at this critical juncture ensured that not a single needy and vulnerable person was deprived of foodgrains during the pandemic.
The Chief Minister informed the Prime Minister that Odisha has prioritised distribution of seven months’ quota of PMGKAY-III foodgrains to the NFSA beneficiaries and completed it by November 5. His government has also extended similar benefits to all the beneficiaries of the state’s own food security scheme, added Patnaik.