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India To Extend Free Food Grains Programme By Five Years, says PM Narendra Modi

In an election rally in Chhattisgarh’s Durg, PM Modi announced extension of free food grains scheme by five years

India To Extend Free Food Grains Programme By Five Years, says PM Narendra Modi
Free food grains will be provided to more than 800 million people

Mumbai: India is planning to extend its free food grains programme by five years, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Saturday (November 4), as the government tries to shield consumers from rising prices of cereals ahead of a general election early next year. The extension will offer relief to consumers, but it will also lead to higher government spending and require New Delhi to procure more wheat and rice from farmers to sustain the welfare programme, which provides free grains to more than 800 million people.

Also Read: 81.35 Crore People To Get Free Foodgrain For A Year Under National Food Security Act

PM Modi confirmed the move at an election rally in Durg, a city in the central state of Chhattisgarh, where state elections are due this month.

The grains programme, estimated to cost the government around 2 trillion rupees ($24.06 billion) this year, was due to expire at the end of the year.

India, the world’s second-largest producer of wheat and rice, has restricted exports of both cereals to curb rising prices at home.

A Mumbai-based dealer with a global trade house said the government would be forced to keep export restrictions in place for a longer period because it needs to purchase from farmers to run the programme.

Also Read: “Zero Hunger Is Achievable,” Says UN Secretary-General While Highlighting The Global Food Crisis And Actions Required

“Without export restrictions, local prices would rise above the government set floor prices, and they would fail to procure enough,” he added.

For the first time in eight years, India’s rice output is expected to drop this year, raising the prospect that New Delhi will extend curbs on exports of the grain to keep a lid on food prices ahead of elections.

Global rice prices jumped to a 15-year high after India, the world’s biggest rice exporter that accounts for more than 40% of global rice exports, curbed exports of non-basmati rice varieties in July.

India last year banned wheat exports in a surprise move after a heat wave curtailed output.

($1 = 83.1400 Indian rupees)

Also Read: India Brings Food Safety Net Programs To Forefront Effectively Under G20 Presidency: Agriculture Ministry

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which in its Season 10 is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Ayushmann Khurrana. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ populationindigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In a world post COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental well-being, self-care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.

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