Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Monday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi raising the issue of 'chronic food insecurity' faced by poor, farmers and daily wagers in the country owing to the national lockdown and suggested extending 10 kg grains per person to National Food Security Act (NFSA) beneficiaries for three months till September this year.
This comes after Centre decision to provide free of cost, 5kg grain/person in addition to the entitlements under NFSA from of April to June in view of the countrywide lockdown imposed due to COVID-19.
Congress president in her letter said: "Firstly, the provision of 10 kg grains/person to NFSA beneficiaries must be extended for an additional period of 3 months i.e. till September, 2020. Given the chronic economic distress faced by these beneficiaries, the food entitlements may be provided free of cost."
"Secondly, 10 kg grains/person may be provided free of cost, for a period of 6 months, to those who may be facing food insecurity but not holding ration cards. I would like to bring to your notice that all migrant labour who have been facing acute distress may not be holding NFSA cards. In addition, many deserving people have been excluded from the NFSA lists," she added.
The Congress leader also said that her suggestions "are critical to safeguard people against food inflation, at a juncture where supply chain disruptions are causing price rise."
Furthermore, she added that "the release of food grains to the states as suggested above will help create storage space with Food Corporation of India (FCI) to ramp up Rabi season procurement of Wheat and Rice."
On Saturday, Sonia had said that the central government should soon form a policy to handle the situation arising out of the coronavirus crisis that has particularly affected the poor, farmers and daily wagers in the country.
India's tally of positive COVID-19 cases rose to 9,152 following an increase of 796 cases in the last 24 hours, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said on Monday.