Bhubaneswar, November 21: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Sunday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi requesting him to continue the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) beyond November 30.
In a letter to the Prime Minister on Saturday, the Chief Minister requested to 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 Covid pandemic situation improves and complete normalcy is restored in the State.
Patnaik said that Odisha has prioritised distribution of seven months’ quota of PMGKAY-III food grains to the NFSA beneficiaries and completed it by November 5, 2021.
The Centre provided rice free of cost for seven months under PMGKAY for distribution to NFSA beneficiaries in the State from May 2021 to November 2021 during the COVID-19 pandemic period.
“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,” said the Chief Minister.
“Similar facility was also extended to all the beneficiaries of the State covered under its own Food Security Scheme,” added Patnaik.
“The effect of COVID-19 has not waned away yet completely despite a fast-paced vaccination drive undertaken across the state as cases of new infection 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,” wrote Patnaik.
Under the prevailing situations, it is felt highly necessary that the Government must provide relief to the vulnerable during these critical hours, said the CM adding that a serious cause of concern in this ongoing pandemic scenario is the challenge of food security to the needy and vulnerable.