India, June 30 -- In his address to the nation on Tuesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that the government is extending free ration to 800 millions Indians up to November under the Pradhan Mantri Gareeb Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY). In addition to 5kg of rice or wheat per family member, the beneficiaries will also get 1kg of gram, an important source of protein, per month. This decision deserves appreciation. As Covid-19 cases continue to surge, any immediate economic recovery, and therefore, restoration of incomes is unlikely. Ensuring food security for all has to be the first priority in such a situation.

While 60% of India's population will benefit from the programme, it will also generate economic benefits beyond preventing hunge...