Chandigarh (Pitamber Sharma) : Punjab Chief Minister Captain 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, Catptain Amarinder 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.
The Chief Minister urged Modi to advise the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Government of India, accordingly. Noting that the early announcement of the PMGKAY had provided major relief to the poor NFSA beneficiaries during the difficult times of Covid, the Chief Minister said that 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 extent 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 Captain Amarinder, adding that extension of PMGKAY for six months would be of immense help to the needy NFSA beneficiaries in these trying times.