Mumbai: Maharashtra Congress chief Balasaheb Thorat on Tuesday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi's announcement of the extension of the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana (PMGKAY) was made with an eye on Bihar elections.

Thorat, who is the state's revenue minister, also pointed out that the PM did not say anything about the standoff with China in eastern Ladakh in his address.

"The prime minister's speech was a let-down....he did not provide any relief to the poor nor did he show his `red eyes' (gave any stern message to) to China," the Congress leader said.

"After the coronavirus pandemic broke out, the free foodgrain scheme was launched to provide five kg of foodgrains to the poor. Congress president Sonia Gandhi had demanded that the scheme be extended till September. The decision to extend an existing scheme is administrative matter and there was no need to mention it through a national address," Thorat said.

"But he announced the extension of the scheme with an eye on Bihar polls in November. The poor have other needs besides food. Five kg of rice, wheat and chana dal is a meager help. This will not last even for a month," he said.

Rs 7,500 in cash must be deposited in bank accounts of the poor every month, Thorat demanded.

"The PM has indicated that the pandemic will stay till November," he quipped.

Prime minister Modi on Tuesday announced the extension of the PMGKAY, a programme to provide free ration to over 80 crore people, till November end.

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Raipur: The Chhattisgarh government on Tuesday decided to procure cow dung at Rs 2 per kilogram from cattle rearers as part of its 'Gaudhan Nyay Yojana' which will be launched on July 20, coinciding with local Hareli festival, an official said.

The decision was taken in a cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel here on Tuesday, a government spokesperson said.

The scheme is meant for large scale production of vermicompost in gauthans (dedicated land in villages where cattle are housed) set up under the ambitious 'Narva, Garua, Ghurua aur Bari' scheme of the state government, he said.

"Earlier, a cabinet sub-committee had recommended buying cow dung at Rs 1.50 per kg but the cabinet has fixed the procurement rate at Rs 2 per kg, including transport cost," he said.

The state government has sanctioned construction of nearly 5300 gauthans so far, out of which 2,408 in rural areas and 377 in urban areas have been set up, he said.

In these gauthans, cow and buffalo dung will be procured from cattle owners through gauthan committees and will be utilized for making vermicompost and other products, he added.

The scheme will be launched on Hareli festival, which is celebrated to mark the start of agricultural activities.

The cabinet also approved selling of vermicompost produced under the scheme through cooperative societies to farmers at the rate of Rs 8 per kg, he said.

The cabinet also approved a plan to distribute 5 kg rice per person each month from July to November on ration cards (except for APL category) issued under the Chhattisgarh Food Security Act, in the same way as it is being provided on ration cards under National Food Security Act, he said.

"Likewise, one kg of a gram will be given per month during the same period to ration card holders (except for APL category)under Chhattisgarh Food Security Act," he said.

Besides, the cabinet approved to merge the remaining batch of teachers working under panchayat and urban body departments, who have completed a service period of two years or more, with the school education department from November 1.

The move will benefit 16,278 teachers, he added.

The cabinet also decided to constitute the Indravati Basin Development Authority for development of Indravati river valley in south Chhattisgarh, he said.

The decision to discontinue the Chhattisgarh State Law Commission was also taken in the meeting, he said.