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India Will Likely Extend Free Food Grains Program Until December

A woman collects grain from a state-run distribution store in a village in Tikamgarh district, Madhya Pradesh, India.

A woman collects grain from a state-run distribution store in a village in Tikamgarh district, Madhya Pradesh, India.

Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg

India will likely extend by three months its free food grains program that covers the majority of the nation’s population and costs more than $18 billion annually, according to people familiar with the matter.  

The government may continue to provide free rice or wheat to about 800 million people until December as the food ministry has sought an extension, the people said, asking not to be identified as the information is private. The dole was set to expire at end-September.