Competition for free rations: Kharge pledges 10 kg vs NDA’s 5 kg if the INDIA alliance controls the government

New Delhi, May 15 — Amidst the loud campaign and intense rivalry between the BJP and the INDIA bloc to win over new supporters, the free ration program for the nation’s 80 crore residents has evolved into a new focal point for the latter group.

In a joint news conference with Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Akhilesh Yadav on Wednesday, Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge said that the INDIA bloc would provide people a free ration of 10 kg, but the NDA will only give them 5 kg.

Scoffing at the claims made by the Modi government about feeding the poor, Kharge said, “You are giving 5 kg ration to poor; we will provide 10 kg free ration.”

Using the states of Telangana and Karnataka as examples, Kharge said that Congress administrations there had done the same.

Additionally, he said that the Congress-led UPA government had brought out the free rationing program under the Food Security Act and that the Modi administration was claiming “undue credit” for it.

Notably, free rationing was not included in the Congress agenda for the 2024 elections and has only surfaced after the conclusion of the fourth election round.

The central theme of the Congress election campaign was providing apprenticeships to young people without jobs, with a maximum benefit of Rs 1 lakh, and empowering women with an annual aid of Rs 1 lakh.

It’s interesting to note that the Congress President’s pledge was made only one day after Home Minister Amit Shah said the BJP had already secured 270 seats and that the next three phases would only increase its total.

Since the COVID epidemic, individuals have been given free rations to feed the underprivileged and destitute. Prior to the elections, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also said that this program would be extended for a further five years, or his third term.

Estimates place this scheme’s average annual cost at around Rs 2 lakh crore. The budget would skyrocket and if Congress forms and leads the next government, it will cost around Rs 4 lakh crore annually.

Experts have previously questioned the many promises made in Congress’ Nyay Patra, including support for women and the jobless, as well as the means of achieving them. The taxpayers would be burdened even more if free rations were added to the list.

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