Union minister Rajnath Singh claimed on Wednesday that many citizens were getting more foodgrain than they could consume under the Union government’s free ration scheme and that such people ended up selling the surplus in the market, reported PTI.

“Are you not getting 5 kilograms of foodgrains each?” the Bharatiya Janata Party leader asked at a rally in Bihar’s Karakat town, “I know if there are four members in a family, each is getting a supply of 5 kilograms and those who are not able to consume it, sell off the surplus.”

The defence minister was referring to the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana, which the Centre launched in March 2020 in the wake of the first phase of the nationwide Covid-19 lockdown to provide five kilograms of free rations every month to 80 crore poor citizens. The scheme was subsequently extended multiple times.

In December 2022, the government had announced that the National Food Security Act will subsume the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana till December 31, 2023. In November, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that the scheme would be extended for another five years.

At the Karakat rally, Singh claimed that food inflation in India was the lowest in the world and asserted that allegations of price rise were unfounded.

“I would like to tell you that food inflation in the country is the lowest in the world at 2.91%,” the former BJP chief said, according to PTI. “In the US, it is 7.79%, 19% in France, 8.5%, 48% in Pakistan and 21%.”

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What free food rations hide: A rollback of social security in India