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Modi extends $20bn free ration scheme for India's poor by 5 months

More than 800 million people to benefit as the country fights spike in COVID-19 cases

Workers load sacks of wheat onto a supply truck at the Gharaunda Grains Market in Karnal district of the northern state of Haryana, India.   © Reuters

NEW DELHI - Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday extended a free food grain scheme for over 800 million people until the end of November as the country battles a spike in COVID-19 cases.

The scheme for the poor was first announced in late March when the government imposed a nationwide lockdown, and had been due to end on Tuesday. India, a country of over 1.3 billion, has so far reported 566,840 coronavirus cases, including 16,893 deaths, and has extended the lockdown through to the end of July.

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