The Rajasthan government has launched a new scheme to provide free food packets to the poor and needy families in the state. The Annapurna food packet yojana Rajasthan, which was inaugurated by Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on August 15, 2023, is expected to benefit over 1.10 crore families every month.
The scheme is part of the ₹19,000 crore ‘Inflation Relief Package’, which was announced by the chief minister in the state budget for 2023-24 to provide relief to the public from rising prices. Under the scheme, each food packet will contain one kilogram each of chana dal, sugar, salt, one litre soybean refined edible oil, 100 gram each of chilli powder and coriander powder, and 50 gram of turmeric.
The eligible beneficiaries will get the Annapurna food packets every month from the fair price shops (FPS) for free, for which the FPS will get a commission of ₹10 per packet. The scheme is primarily meant for the families covered by the National Food Security Act (NFSA), but it will also include the non-NFSA families who received financial assistance of ₹5,500 each during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The chief minister said that the Annapurna scheme would help realise his government’s resolution of “no one should sleep hungry in Rajasthan” and that his government’s public welfare schemes are “not freebies” but are being implemented with “excellent” financial management. He also urged the central government to implement social security schemes, similar to the ones launched in Rajasthan, all over the country.
The Annapurna scheme is the latest among a host of public welfare schemes launched by the Congress government in the state. Some of the other schemes are providing LPG cylinders for ₹500, health insurance of ₹25 lakh annually per family, accidental insurance coverage of ₹10 lakh, and additional employment of 25 days under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA).
The Annapurna scheme has been welcomed by the people of Rajasthan, especially those who are struggling to make ends meet amid inflation and unemployment. The scheme has also been praised by various social activists and experts as a timely and effective measure to ensure food security and nutrition for the poor. The scheme is expected to generate a lot of goodwill and support for the ruling party in the upcoming assembly elections in the state.