The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has praised India’s efforts for food distribution during the COVID-19 pandemic. They said that the state averted extreme poverty rise during this era by providing food security through the govt initiative Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY). The IMF has also stated that India’s extreme poverty is a smaller amount than 1%and this was also maintained in 2020.
The IMF presented a research paper based on the consumption and poverty estimates in India during the COVID-19 pandemic. The paper had a title called ‘Pandemic, Poverty, and Inequality: Evidence from India.’The Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana played an enormous role in preventing the rise in extreme poverty levels across the state.
As India’s food subsidy program was expanded rather than increasing cash transfers, the poor were provided free food as per their average monthly requirement. Doing so helped the state to keep up extreme poverty at a coffee level of 0.8%.
lf food subsidies weren’t provided during the pandemic, the intense poverty within the country during now period would have increased by 1.05% to 2.48% from 1.43%. The food transfers were critical in ensuring that the acute poverty line remained low level.
This initiative was announced in March 2020 by the govt during the COVID-19 pandemic to provide free food grains to the poor and also the migrants. 5 kg of food grains per person per month were distributed by the govt.
Also, an extra supply of free-of-cost food grains to around 80 crore beneficiaries under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) was also announced. On 30th June 2020, the scheme was to be ended but the govt extended it up to November 2020. As far as the extension is concerned, recently, this scheme has been extended till September 2022.
Serious a part of the pandemic’s shock to the nations’ economy was absorbed by this scheme by providing food to the poor which prevented extreme poverty rise in India.