Free ration scheme be extended by another 5 years, says PM Modi

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PM Modi
PM Modi said the Congress does not want the welfare of the poor and does not want their condition to improve.

PM Modi made the announcement at a public meeting at Durg in poll-bound Chhattisgarh. Voting for the 90-member state assembly will be held in two phases on November 7 and 17

The Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana, the Centre’s free ration scheme that aids 80 crore poor, will be extended for five more years, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on November 4.

“I have decided that the BJP government will extend the scheme of providing free rations to 80 crore poor people in the country for the next five years. Your love and blessings always give me the strength to make sacred decisions,” media reports quoted him as saying.

Modi made the announcement at a public meeting in Durg city of poll-bound Chhattisgarh. Polling for the 90-member Chhattisgarh assembly will be held in two phases on November 7 and 17. Later, he also made a similar announcement while campaigning in Ratlam, Madhya Pradesh, stating it is a “guarantee of Modi”.

The programme was introduced during the coronavirus pandemic in 2020 to offer succour to people hit hard by the lockdowns and stalling of economic activities. Every month the government supplied 5 kg of food rain free of cost to individuals.

The Prime Minister came down hard on the ruling Congress over its alleged corruption in the state. “The Congress government in Chhattisgarh has not spared any chance to loot you. They have not even spared the name of ‘Mahadev’.”

He was referring to the probe into illegal betting app Mahadev, which is threatening to ensnare politicians, actors and government officials.  His comments come a day after the Enforcement Directorate (ED) said in a statement a “cash courier” had claimed that Mahadev betting app promoters paid about Rs 508 crore to Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel.

“The Congress government and the chief minister should tell the people of Chhattisgarh what links they have with the accused in this scam sitting in Dubai,” he added.

Two days ago, the Enforcement Directorate recovered a huge pile of cash in the state capital Raipur. “People are saying that this is the money belonging to sattebaj’ (those involved in betting) and they have collected it by looting the poor and youth of Chhattisgarh. Congress leaders have been filling their houses with the same money,” the Prime Minister said.

Accusing the Congress of abusing him and the entire Other Backward Classes (OBC) community, Modi said he was not scared of abuses.

For him, the biggest caste in the country were the poor and he was their sevak (servant), Modi said. He also accused parties of hatching new conspiracies to divide the poor and spread the poison of casteism.

“The Congress abused the OBC prime minister. Why does Congress abuse the OBC community? Why do they call Sahus (an influential OBC community in Chhattisgarh) thieves?” he said, adding the party didn’t want the condition of the poor to improve.