₹3,500 crores of the second tranche of stimulus to be spent on allocation to those without ration cards
A major focus of the second tranche of the economic stimulus package announced by Union Finance Minister is to provide free foodgrains for the next two months to migrant workers who do not have ration cards.
The Centre will spend ₹3,500 crores for this purpose.
There were an estimated eight crore migrant workers who had been housed in government- and privately run relief camps across the country since the lockdown.
Apart from measures for migrant workers, the second tranche announced by the government included an extension of credit facilities for urban housing, street vendors and farmers and an interest subvention scheme for small businesses.
The move to provide free foodgrain for migrant workers is an extension of the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana, announced on March 27, which provided an additional monthly free rice or wheat allocation of 5 kg per person, and 1 kg of pulse per household from April to June to the 80 crore people with ration cards covered by the National Food Security Act (NFSA).
Over the past month, migrant workers and others without ration cards have struggled without access to this free food.
We are engaging with the State governments to make sure that they know where these migrants are, they can approach them and give them.
Because most of these migrants who have no cards are staying in camps run either by the government or by NGOs, and therefore, based on a rough assessment given to us by all the State governments, we think there are about eight crore migrants for whom benefit will reach through this free food grain supply.
By August 2020, the ration card portability scheme will allow 67 crore NFSA beneficiaries in 23 connected States to use their cards at any ration shop anywhere in the country, allowing migrant workers to access subsidised food away from their home villages.
The scheme would cover all beneficiaries by March 2021.