Cabinet approves distribution of free food grains to poor until November

Gives its nod to extension of a scheme, where government contributes to EPF, for three more months

The decisions were made during a meeting of the Union Cabinet, headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Photo: PTI

Amid the COVID-19 crisis gripping the country, the Union Cabinet on Wednesday (July 08) granted its nod to the distribution of free food grains to the poor until November and approved the extension of a scheme, where the government contributes to the Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF), for three months until August.

The decisions were made during a meeting of the Union Cabinet, headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. After the meeting, Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar said 81 crore poorest will be provided 5 kg free foodgrains per person for five more months and one kg pulses per month. The scheme will cost ₹1.49 lakh crore.

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He added that extending the scheme until the end of November would help the poor to cope with the economic pain of the coronavirus-induced lockdown. Also, the government allowed 7.4 crore poor women to avail of three free LPG cylinders till September. Previously, they were to avail of this quota between April and June, he said.

Also, the Cabinet approved the extension of the Central government EPF contribution of 24 per cent (12 per cent employees’ share and 12 per cent employers’ share) for another three months from June to August 2020. The move will benefit over 72 lakh employees and cost the government ₹4,860 crore.

The Cabinet has also given its approval for the development of Affordable Rental Housing Complexes (AHRCs) for urban migrants/poor as a sub-scheme under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana. The existing vacant government-funded housing complexes will be converted in ARHCs through Concession Agreements for 25 years. a press release said.

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