Written byShalini Ojha
In his short address to the nation on Tuesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that the benefits of Pradhan Mantri Gareeb Kalyan Anna Yojana will be extended till November-end.
This move will help 80 crore Indians and ensure no one remains hungry, he added.
He also asked countrymen to not let their guards down in the ongoing battle against coronavirus.
Beginning his speech by mentioning coronavirus, PM Modi said the season when people catch cough, cold, and fever is upon us, and he requested citizens to remain alert.
He said after India started unlocking, a careless attitude was seen.
"Whether it is about wearing masks or washing hands, people are not taking the precautions seriously. That is a sign of worry," he added.
"Earlier, we were very careful. But now, when we need to be more cautious, increasing carelessness is cause for concern. People have to become cautious again, especially in containment zones," he said. Notably, India's coronavirus tally has touched 5.7 lakh and nearly 17,000 have died.
PM Modi then said crucial festivals will start soon and the celebrations would overwhelm pockets.
Keeping the same in mind, 80 crore Indians will get 5 kg free rice/wheat and 1 kg dal per month till November-end.
This will cost the government Rs. 90,000 crore. Combining the last three months, the total cost would come to Rs. 1.5 lakh crore, he revealed.
PM Modi also informed that the government was religiously working on the "One Nation, One Ration card" scheme.
The plan, first announced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman last month while revealing details of the Rs. 20 lakh crore Aatmnirbhar Bharat package, hopes to make ration cards portable, allowing the poor to procure essential items even if they migrate to other states for livelihood.
PM Modi also noted that India's economy depends on agriculture and it's pertinent to support farmers during these times. He disclosed Rs. 18,000 crore was deposited in bank accounts of over 9 crore farmers.
"Under PM Garib Kalyan Yojana, we announced a package of Rs. 1.75 lakh crore. In the last three months, Rs. 31,000 crore was deposited in bank accounts of 20 crore poor families," he said.
Further, PM Modi revealed that the population that is getting free food is almost two and a half times the total population of the United States and 12 times the population of Britain.
"Today, if the government is able to provide free food grain, it is because of two sections. First, the hardworking farmers of our country and second, the honest taxpayers," he said.
At the end of his speech, PM Modi asked Indians to wear masks, wash hands, and maintain do gaz ki doori to defeat coronavirus. He also reminded of the "vocal for local" campaign and assured that India will become self-reliant.
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