THE GIST of Editorial for UPSC Exams : 24 April 2020 (Free foodgrains should reach the needy (The Hindu))

Free foodgrains should reach the needy (The Hindu)

Mains Paper 2:Governance 
Prelims level: Garib Kalyan scheme
Mains level: Welfare schemes for vulnerable sections of the population by the Centre and States


  • It was heartening to hear that from the Centre that four million tonnes of foodgrains have been lifted by 36 States under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Ann Yojana in the course of this month. 
  • It is true that scores of urban migrant workers, many of them desperate to return to their villages, are going hungry despite rice and wheat stocks of 77 million tonnes lying in the godowns of the Food Corporation of India. 


  • Stocks are not reaching the hunger hotspots quickly enough, even as food has been moved, largely by rail, to Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Karnataka and the North-East, where food demand possibly outstrips supply. 
  • About 50-60 million tonnes are estimated to be distributed through mid-day meals and under the National Food Security Act. 


Reliance on PDS: 

  • The reliance on PDS is expected to increase this year, and it is just as well that both the Centre and States have topped up the NFSA entitlement — which meets the needs of 80 crore people. 
  • The immediate need is to now reach out to the millions of migrants who do not have a ration card and are outside the NFSA ambit. 
  • States and NGOs have stepped up community kitchens and other forms of emergency food distribution, but their efforts are not enough.

Garib Kalyan scheme: 

  • The Centre should release more foodgrains to the States (over and above transfers under the Garib Kalyan scheme) free of cost rather than at the issue price, relieving the States’ fiscal burden. 
  • Worrying about the ₹2 lakh crore plus food subsidy bill (the difference between the procurement, transport and storage cost on the one hand and the issue price on the other) is a case of misplaced priorities. 
  • It is a violation of the NFSA that any individual should go hungry when food is available. 
  • Besides, distributing grain free amounts to a saving on storage costs; godowns also need to be cleared to make way for the new, bumper wheat crop. Decentralised procurement and storage can reduce distribution costs and hassles. 
  • India has made significant gains in this regard since 2012-13, with States such as Odisha, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh emerging as major contributors to the grain pool. 
  • In fact, the recent movement of grains by rail has been from storages in central India as well.
  • States and private agencies have been allowed to buy from FCI depots without going through the usual process of e-auctions through open market sales.

Way forward:

  • However, there can be no escaping the impression that governments — both Central and State — have been slow to act. 
  • States receiving migrants such as Bihar must step up efforts to create kitchens and begin MGNREGA works that are consistent with social distancing. 
  • This is not the time for political one-upmanship between the Centre and States, or preoccupation with deficit numbers.


Online Coaching for UPSC PRE Exam

General Studies Pre. Cum Mains Study Materials

Prelims Questions:

Q.1)With reference to the state legislature, consider the following statements:
1. Article 164(4) of the Constitution of India states that a Minister who for any period of four consecutive months is not a member of the Legislature of the State shall at the expiration of that period cease to be a Minister.
2. The Council of Ministers shall be collectively responsible to the Legislative Assembly of the State. 
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
(a) 1 only
(b) 2 only
(c) Both 1 and 2
(d) Neither 1 nor 2



Mains Questions:
Q.1) What is the Garib Kalyan Scheme? What are the major significance it?