4 December 2022

New Delhi: The government’s food subsidy bill is likely to cross Rs 3 lakh crore during the current financial year, nearly 50 % more than the budget estimate of Rs 2.07 lakh crore. This is primarily due to the extension of the free foodgrain scheme, PM Garib Yojna Kalyan Ann ( PMGKAY ) till December.

According to estimates, this will be the second highest subsidy outgo for providing subsidized highly ing and free foodgrains to nearly 80 crore identified beneficiaries.

Government's food subsidy 3lakh
Government’s food subsidy 3lakh

Earlier the maximum amount provided in the budget was 2020-21 Rs 5.29 lakh crore. But Rs 3.4 lakh crore of this fund was utilized towards settling loans availed by the Food Corporation of India ( FCI ) from the National Small Savings Fund. This had reduced the interest burden of the government-owned FCI, which has helped reduce the economic cost of foodgrains.

The government has extended the PMGKAY for the seventh time till December and officials said this is likely to push the subsidy up by another Rs 1.2 lakh crore.

Under the PMGKAY, the government provides 5 kg of monthly free food grain to each beneficiary. This is in addition to the 5 kg of highly subsidized wheat and rice that the Centre provides to each of these beneficiaries every month.

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