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ANTYODAYA ANNA YOJANA (AAY)

AAY was a step in the direction of making TPDS aim at reducing hunger among the poorest segments of the BPL population. A National Sample Survey Exercise pointed towards the fact that about 5% of the total population in the country sleeps without two square meals a day. This section of the population could be called as "hungry”. In order to make TPDS more focused and targeted towards this category of population, the "Antyodaya Anna Yojana” (AAY) was launched in December, 2000 for one crore poorest of the poor families.

AAY involved identification of one crore poorest of the poor families from amongst the number of BPL families covered under TPDS within the States and providing them food grains at a highly subsidized rate of Rs.2/- per kg. for wheat and Rs.3/- per kg for rice. The States/UTs were required to bear the distribution cost, including margin to dealers and retailers as well as the transportation cost. Thus the entire food subsidy was passed on to the consumers under the scheme.

The scale of issue that was initially 25 kg per family per month was increased to 35 kg per family per month with effect from 1st April 2002.

The AAY Scheme has since expanded to cover 2.50 crore poorest of the poor households as follows:

The AAY Scheme was expanded in 2003-04 by adding another 50 lakh BPL households headed by widows or terminally ill persons or disabled persons or persons aged 60 years or more with no assured means of subsistence or societal support. Order to this effect was issued on 3rd June, 2003. With this increase, 1.5 crore (i.e. 23% of BPL) families were covered under the AAY.

As announced in the Union Budget 2004-05, the AAY was further expanded by another 50 lakh BPL families by including, inter alia, all households at the risk of hunger. Order to this effect was issued on 3rd August 2004. In order to identify these households, the guidelines stipulated the following criteria:-a) Landless agriculture labourers, marginal farmers, rural artisans /craftsmen, such as potters, tanners, weavers, blacksmiths, carpenters, slum dwellers and persons earning their livelihood on daily basis in the informal sector like porters, coolies, rickshaw pullers, hand cart pullers, fruit and flower sellers, snake charmers, rag pickers, cobblers, destitute and other similar categories in both rural and urban areas.b) Households headed by widows or terminally ill persons/disabled persons/ persons aged 60 years or more with no assured means of subsistence or societal support.c) Widows or terminally ill persons or disabled persons or persons aged 60 years or more or single women or single men with no family or societal support or assured means of subsistence.d) All primitive tribal households.

As announced in the Union Budget 2005-06, the AAY was expanded to cover another 50 lakh BPL households thus increasing its coverage to 2.5 crore households (i.e. 38% of BPL). Order to this effect was issued on 12th May, 2005.