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Fate of World’s Biggest Free Food Program Rests With Modi

  • Free rice or wheat for poor costing India 1.5t rupees annually
  • Stopping program won’t be an easy choice ahead of state polls
Narendra Modi 

Narendra Modi 

Photographer: Sergei Bobylyov/AFP/Getty Images
Updated on

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will soon decide whether to extend a food dole out that has cost India $44 billion since the pandemic, or ease the strain on government finances and food supply.

Modi’s been giving away 5 kilograms of wheat or rice every month to 800 million Indians since April 2020 in a program worth about 1.5 trillion rupees annually. The plan, which was started during the pandemic to supplement the nation’s longstanding sales of subsidized grain, is set to expire at end-September.