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Record procurement, unequal recovery behind another extension of free foodgrain scheme?

The Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana will soon enter its sixth phase and will now go on until September. But what are the reasons for this latest extension and what clues does it hold for the economy and the government's finances?

March 29, 2022 / 01:01 PM IST
REUTERS/Ajay Verma

REUTERS/Ajay Verma

On March 26, the Union Cabinet approved a six-month extension for the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PM-GKAY), ensuring that some 80 crore people will keep receiving free foodgrain until September.

"Even though COVID-19 has significantly abated and economic activities are gathering momentum, this PM-GKAY extension would ensure that no poor household goes to bed without food during this time of recovery," the government said in its statement on March 26.

This line of reasoning raises an obvious question: why should a poor household go to bed without food during any time? Or is the government not confident about the ongoing recovery being strong or even enough?

Perhaps there is another contributing answer.