Millennium Post

PM extends free ration scheme till November for 80 cr people

New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday made two big announcements during his address to the nation — extension of the current free ration scheme for 80 crore Indians for another five months till the festive season gets over in November, besides announcing the 'One Nation, One Ration Card' scheme.

PM lamented the increase in negligence in personal and social behaviour since 'Unlock-1' from June 1 when Coronavirus lockdown curbs were eased, and said no one is above law in India be it a village pradhan or the head of the government.

Hinting that it is a long haul and India's poor and needy will continue to need the handholding of the government, the Prime Minister said the scheme, which will provide 5 kg wheat or rice to every needy family with an addition of 1 kg chana every month, will cost the government Rs 90,000 crore. The total cost of the scheme, including the amount spent so far, will accumulate to Rs 1.5 lakh crore.

The Prime Minister credited the farmers and the honest taxpayers for making the mammoth scheme possible.

"Today, if the government is being able to provide free food grains to the poor and the needy, the credit goes to two sections. Firstly, the hardworking farmers of India, and secondly, the honest taxpayers. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart," said the Prime Minister.

Highlighting his government's pro-poor measures during the lockdown, he said it had announced Rs 1.75 lakh crore package for the poor earlier, with Rs 31,000 crore transferred to 20 crore poor families under direct benefit transfer and Rs 18,000 crore given to nine crore farmers.

The Union government, he added, is also spending Rs 50,000 crore for providing employment to people in rural India.

Modi also used the opportunity to propose 'One Nation, One Ration Card'. "Now a ration card is also being arranged for the whole of India. That is, 'One Nation, One Ration Card'. It will benefit those poor colleagues who leave their villages and go elsewhere for employment or other needs," Modi said.

The prime minister said his government will continue to work ceaselessly for 'Aatamnirbhar Bharat'.

"We all will be vocal for Local. With this pledge and commitment, the 130 crore people of this country will have to work together and move forward together."

The Prime Minister also made two things very clear — "India will see more economic activities in the coming days, but Indians have no room to be complacent about the Coronavirus".

His statement assumes significance given that many have lowered their guard in the battle against the pandemic in recent times. The Prime Minister has asked the government and the concerned administrations to more stringently ensure that those violating the basic rules like wearing masks or maintaining social distancing desist from repeating their mistake.

"Ever since Unlock 1.0 started in the country, negligence in personal and social behaviour has been increasing," the Prime Minister said.

Asking the administration to pay special attention to the contentment zones, he said, "During the lockdown, rules were strictly abided by. But now, the state governments, the local administrations and the citizens will have to again show similar caution. We need to pay special attention to the containment zones. If you see someone flouting norms, tell them they cannot do so."

To make his point, Modi cited an example of a Prime Minister of another nation who was heavily fined for not wearing a mask. He asserted that when it comes to following rules to prevent the spread of the pandemic, no-one is untouchable, "be it the village head or the Prime Minister himself".

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