The Government has extended the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Ann Yojana (PMGKAY) for another five years from 1st of January 2024. Under the scheme, five kg of free food grains are being provided per month to over 81 crore poor in the country and Antyodaya households get 35 kg of free food grains per month. Briefing media in New Delhi after the Union Cabinet meeting, Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Singh Thakur said, this historic decision places PMGKAY amongst the World’s biggest social welfare schemes aimed at ensuring food and nutrition security at an estimated cost of 11.80 lakh crore rupees over a 5 year period. Mr Thakur said, the free food grains will concurrently ensure uniform implementation of portability under One Nation One Ration Card across the country and will further strengthen this choice-based platform.
The Cabinet also approved a Central Sector Scheme for providing drones to the Women’s Self Help Groups(SHGs). The Minister informed that under the scheme, drones will be provided to 15,000 selected SHGs during 2023-24 to 2025-2026 for providing rental services to farmers for agricultural application. The scheme has been approved with an outlay of 1261 crore rupees.
Mr. Anurag Singh Thakur added that the Union Cabinet also cleared the term of reference for the 16th Finance Commission. The Finance Commission will make recommendations regarding the distribution of the net proceeds of taxes between the Union and the States and the measures needed to augment the Consolidated Fund of a State to supplement the resources of the Panchayats and Municipalities in the State. The Commission may review the present arrangements for financing disaster management initiatives, with reference to the funds constituted under the Disaster Management Act, 2005, and make appropriate recommendations thereon. The Commission will make its report available by 31st of October, 2025 covering a period of five years commencing on the 1st day of April, 2026.