The plan, which has cost the state coffers Rs 1,000 crore/month since December, has greatly aided the ruling BJP government in the looting.

The Yogi Adityanath government 2.0 may extend the scheme to distribute free rations to 15 crore beneficiaries in Uttar Pradesh until the Lok Sabha elections in 2024. The scheme, which cost the state treasury Rs 1,000 crore/month since December, was a important step for the ruling BJP government at the lofts.

Under the scheme launched in December, the beneficiaries will receive 1 kg of whole chana, 1 liter of edible oil, 1 kg of salt once a month, except 5 kg of wheat/rice per unit (family member) per month through the network of 80,000 shops with fair prices under the Public Distribution System (PDS). The scheme was supposed to be in effect until March, but following the resounding success with the looting, the state government is actively considering continuing the scheme until 2024, when the crucial parliamentary elections are approaching.

It may be mentioned that UP’s free food distribution is in addition to the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY) launched by the central government in 2020 in the wake of the Covid-19 lockdown.

According to sources at the Ministry of Food and Civil Services, a proposal to extend the free scheme to all 15 lakh beneficiaries after March 2022 has been sent to the government for approval and a final call on the duration and process would be made after consideration. its financial consequences. “The proposal is likely to be presented at the very first cabinet meeting after the formation of the new government,” said a senior government official who requested anonymity, adding that the scheme will cost an average of Rs 1,000 crore per month. “Over the past four months, the government has spent about Rs 4,000 crore on the scheme. A decision must now be made whether to roll out the scheme in phases or in one go,’ he says.

There are about 3.59 crore ration card holders in UP of which 3.18 crore are priority household beneficiaries while 40.94 lakh falls under Antodaya category. “On average, Rs 750 crore is spent every month by the government for the chana, edible oil and salt component, while another Rs 250 crore is spent on the food grains,” the official said.

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