In his televised address to the nation on Tuesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the extension of the PM Gareeb Kalyan Anna Yojana until the end of November. The scheme will cover around 800 million people. Explaining the steps taken by his government in dealing with the impact of Covid-19 in India, the PM said that we are at a stage, especially after lockdown, where we needed to take more precautions to stay safe from the coronavirus.
"We are entering a time when we all become prone to common illnesses. So, I urge everyone to take good care of themselves," he said.
The Prime Minister also delivered a word of caution when he noted that since Unlock 1 has been implemented, we are becoming more and more careless. Measures like wearing maks and maintaining social distancing are not being followed strictly, he said.
"The need of the hour is that everyone take the same level of precaution as during lockdown, especially in containment zones. We will have to take it upon ourselves to caution and advise everyone who is not taking the precautions. We saw recently that the PM of a country was fined the equivalent of Rs 13,000 for not wearing a mask at a public place. He advised local administrations to adopt a similar attitude.
We need the same level of strictness in our country, too, he said.
Be it the govt, or the civil society or citizens of this country, we have all ensured that nobody goes hungry in these difficult times. Soon after the lockdown was announced, we immediately came up with PM Gareeb Kalyan Anna Yojana, under which Rs 1.75 trillion were spent.
"Rs 31,000 crore was credited directly into people's accounts. An additional 90 million farmers benefitted, having received Rs 18,000 crore directly in their bank accounts. PM Gareeb Kalyan Rojgar Yojana is also being implemented at the cost of Rs 50,000 crore. Aside from all these, what has surprised the world is how such a large number of people — 2.5 times as many people as the population of the US — have got the benefit of free ration in this country."
"In our country, during monsoon and after that, primarily there is a lot of work in the agriculture sector. The other sectors go relatively easy, with several festivals and festivities all lined up in quick succession. These also mean more expenses for every individual. In view of this, the PM Gareeb Kalyan Anna Yojana will be in force till Diwali and Chhath."
"Under this scheme, every member of household will get 5 kg or rice or flour every month until the end of November, in addition to 1 kg chana every month for each family. This will entailan additional Rs 90,000 crore of expenditure by the government," said the PM.
"Add to that the investment so far, and the total expenditure by the government comes to Rs 1.5 trillion. The hard work and dedication of you — honest taxpayers and farmers — is what has allowed the country to tide over such a grave crisis for the financially weaker sections of the country".
"In the times to come, we will increase our efforts to alleviate the worries of the poor. We will keep striving for Atmanirbhar Bharat. We will all be vocal for local. With this vow, we all have to keep working and progressing, while staying safe and healthy," said the PM as he ended his address.