India highlights role of PM-GKAY program in ensuring food security during pandemic at WTO meeting

India unveiled its flagship Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PM-GKAY) at a WTO seminar, which has played a key role in providing additional food security for around 800 million people during the pandemic.

Under the PM-GKAY program, the government is providing 5kg of grain per person per month for free to 80 million people covered by the National Food Security Act (NFSA). This 5kg of dietary grain is in excess of the NFSA’s highly subsidized monthly quota.

India’s approach to food security and innovations, which reflect the government’s concerns and sensitivity to the poor and vulnerable sections of society, have been highly appreciated by participants at the WTO seminar from around the world, the Ministry of Food and Consumer Affairs said in a press release on Thursday.

The high-level WTO seminar on food security was held in Geneva on April 26 to facilitate dialogue on trade and food security among Geneva-based trade representatives, policy makers, experts from international organizations and think tanks, among others.

S Jagannathan, Deputy Secretary at the Department of Food and Public Distribution, highlighted India’s outstanding experience in successfully ensuring dignified and foolproof access to adequate food for the country’s most vulnerable people, particularly during COVID, through a series of bold technology-based reforms and pioneering innovations in the public distribution system.

He represented India at the WTO seminar.

Jagannathan also made an extensive presentation on the Indian perspective in the panel discussion on “National and Regional Experiences” at the “WTO High-Level Seminar”.

The press release goes on to say that India’s recent food security response to the COVID-19 crisis has been hailed as a shining example of its unprecedented speed, scale and transparency, and rightful targeting.

Jagannathan highlighted the critical role PM-GKAY played in providing additional food security for approximately 800 million beneficiaries in the country during the COVID period and how the program continues to cushion them against supply shocks and rising inflation during the recovery phase Amount of nearly $45 billion alongside the regular food subsidy of nearly $22 billion.

National experiences from different countries and world regions were shared and discussed at the seminar, with a focus on the relationship between trade and the multiple dimensions of food security, including access, availability, stability and utilization in the light of existing and future challenges.

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