How government failed to provide food in COVID-19?

In response to Covid-19 crisis, the Indian government has chosen to impose one of the longest and strictest lock downs, anywhere in the world. The rationale behind this was to provide government machinery with the most needed time to prepare against the current pandemic. Nonetheless, this decision has hit the already struggling state of the Indian economy. Worst affected are the already marginalized and vulnerable sections of the Indian population. Amid of high unemployment rate as well as the precarious condition of the individual in the petty conditions, the lockdown has worsened the hunger issue. At the same time country also witnessed reverse migration issue which transformed the health crisis into a humanitarian one.


To Counter this, NDA led Modi government has come up with Rs.1.75 Lakh crore Relief package under PM Garib Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY) in late May 2020. This package consist of cash transfer to poor elderly citizens as well as women in their Bank accounts throw Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT), including free food grains and free gas cylinders were be provided under PM Ujjawala Yojana. Later, for migrant labours under ‘Aatama Nirbhar’ Package aimed to provided 80 Million migrants 5kg Food gains per person per month and to 19.6 million migrants families were announced to get 1 kg pluses per month.

Despite of the central government announcements, the state governments did not deliver as per expected. As per the report of The Hindu, in April, only 15% of households have received 1 kg pluses as per promised. Of the 1.96 lakh tonnes of pluses that should have been given to more than 19 crore households, only 30,000 have been distributed,  according to the Consumer Affairs Department. This shortfall of distribution arose  as government godowns only stored unsullied pluses whereas for the package distribution they have to start their operations. Later in May-June, as per press release of the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution (MCAFPD), the benefits of the two schemes have not yet reached to 800 million people that were targeted.
So, far only a total of 10.19 metric tonnes or 85% have been distributed and 1.75 mt is yet to be distributed under this scheme, as per the report by The Wire.
In the Aatam Nirbar Package where only 13% of the 8 lakh metric tonnes of free food grains for returning migrants during May and June. As per report The Indian Express, Despite lifting their full two months quota, several states did not distribute the free food grains to the return workers, as per statistics shows by MCAFD.
At least 26 states and UTs have lifted 100 per cent of their allocation from the Centre but not one of them distributed full quantities. Some states like Uttar Pradesh lifted 100 per cent but only distributed 3,324 metric tonnes to about 4.39 lakh in May and 2.25 lakh beneficiaries in June. Other states like Rajasthan lifted 100 per cent distributed 95 per cent and Haryana distributed 50 per cent of its 100 per cent lift.

Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) were the main relief provider during Lockdowns. As per the India Today report, In 13 states and UTs, NGOs provided meals to more people than what their respective state governments. In a reply submitted by Centre Government in Supreme Court, a total of 84,26,509 people were provided meals across the country during the Lockdowns, of them 54.15 lakh people were fed by State and rest of 30.11 lakh were fed by NGOs even they also provided shelters and about 39.9 per cent stayed.
We can say that If NGOs had not helped needy people during the lockdowns the country could have been witnessed lakhs of deaths due to starvation. It’s very Ironic for A Welfare State.


निष्पक्ष और जनहित की पत्रकारिता ज़रूरी है

आपके लिए डेमोक्रेटिक चरखा आपके लिए ऐसी ग्राउंड रिपोर्ट्स पब्लिश करता है जिससे आपको फ़र्क पड़ता है
हम इसे तभी जारी रख सकते हैं अगर आप हमारी रिपोर्टिंग, लेखन और तस्वीरों के लिए हमारा सहयोग करें.

8 Responses

  1. Covered all the important points….and really very helpful. Thanks for soo much on ground information.

  2. Thanks for providing such vital information. If i ever have to refer to statistics , i can bank upon your write up. Kudos to you for your efforts.

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