Government’s FY23 food subsidy bill likely to cross Rs 3 lakh crore | India News

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 2lakh crore. This is primarily due to the extension of free foodgrain scheme, PM Garib Kalyan Ann Yojna (PMGKAY) till December.
According to estimates, this will be the second highest subsidy outgo for providing highly subsidised and free foodgrains to nearly 80 crore identified beneficiaries.
Earlier the maximum amount provided in the budget was in 2020-21 of Rs 5.2 lakh crore. But Rs 3.4 lakh crore of this fund was utilised towards settling loans availed by the Food Corporation of India from the National Small Savings Fund. This had reduced the interest burden of 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 foodgrain to each beneficiary. This is in addition to 5 kg of highly subsidised wheat and rice that Centre provides to each of these beneficiaries every month.
The government had launched the PMGKAY in April 2020 to provide a shield to the poor during the Covid-19 pandemic. Earlier, the food ministry had said that the total expenses in all the seven phases of PMGKAY would be around Rs 3.9 lakh crore.

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