Published: 31st January 2022
Free rations to 80 cr Indians for 19 months: Nobody starved during pandemic, says Prez Kovind
The President also lauded the combined efforts put in by the administration, doctors, scientists, health workers and even citizens to fight the pandemic
President Ram Nath Kovind, on January 31, while delivering the Presidential address before the Budget Session 2022, said that nobody was left hungry during the pandemic induced lockdown as the "sensitive" government ensured free distribution of ration to 80 crore people for 19 months.
"During the Corona pandemic, several countries faced food shortage but my sensitive government ensured that no poor was left hungry. The Pradhan Mantri Gareeb Kalyan Anna Yojana provided free rations to 80 crore poor Indians for 19 months," Kovind said in his Presidential speech on the first day of the Budget Session 2022. "This is the largest free food distribution programme in the world, we have extended till March 2022. We spent Rs 2.60 lakh crore for the same," he said.
The President also congratulated the farmers, especially the 80 crore small landholding farmers who helped grow over 30 crore tonnes of food grains and over 33 crore tonnes of horticulture despite the pandemic. He also said, his government continued to help the farmers with minimum support price (MSP) buying Kharif and Rabi crops.
"Soch nayi ho to purane sansadhano se bhi naye raste banaye jaa sakte hai (If we think in an innovative manner, we can work wonders even with old resources," he said.
The President also lauded the combined efforts put in by the administration, doctors, scientists, health workers and even citizens to fight the pandemic that, he said, exemplified the united power of the democracy. He recounted the steps taken by the government vis-a-vis the health sector including vaccination, and said, "Today, 90 per cent or more adults have taken at least one dose of vaccination."
The President recounted the achievements in the field of agriculture, infrastructure, education, Digital India, MSME, and also women's empowerment. Towards the end, he reminded the Parliamentarians that the "next 25 years would be spent on shaping up India that we want to see in 2047 when we celebrate 100 years of Independence".