08:26 GMT25 July 2021
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    Federal as well as state governments in India are taking steps to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on the most vulnerable sections of society. Indian PM Modi earlier extended the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana scheme under which economically weaker families are provided with 5 kg of rice or wheat and 1 kg of pulse, until November 2021.

    The state government of Uttar Pradesh will start free ration distribution to over 140 million beneficiaries of economically backward sections from 20 to 30 June. The said beneficiaries will be provided with 15 kg of food grains for June, July, and August (5 kg for each month) in addition to the rations under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) scheme of the federal government.

    The scheme aims to feed India's poorest citizens by providing grain through the Public Distribution System, to all priority households (ration cardholders and those identified by the Antyodaya Anna Yojana programme).

    Launched on 25 December 2020, Antyodaya Anna Yojana is another scheme sponsored by the federal government. Under the programme, it provides highly subsidised food to millions of the nation's poorest families.

    The free food grain will be distributed via 80,000 fair price shops in the state. According to the Department of Food and Supply, ration distribution will be done through e-POS (Electronic Point of Sale) machines after Aadhaar card authentication. Those unable to receive the free rations through Aadhar identification will be given them through mobile OTP verification.

    The ration distribution will be done under the supervision of nodal officers, while maintaining COVID safety protocols.

    There are around 13,007,969 beneficiaries under the Antyodaya Anna Yojna and 134,177,983 under Eligible Household cardholders.

    To maintain social distancing, only five beneficiaries at a time will be allowed at each shop. Online tokens will be arranged by the state government for the convenience and safety of the beneficiaries. The beneficiaries will be asked to sanitise their hands first before using e-POS machines. 


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