Giving Compass' Take:

• An article at Aljazeera examines how details of India's relief plan exclude tens of millions of citizens from food welfare benefits.

• How doe India's relief plan reflect many governments' inabilities to extend benefits to those most in need? What can you do in an effort to sustain those who fall outside the boundaries of public welfare systems?

• As the global pandemic continues to affect communities globally, learn why the time is now to increase your giving.

Although India's relief package promises free food for roughly 800 million beneficiaries, economists and activists say few of those in need are registered with the federal food welfare scheme, or have the documents needed to secure benefits.

"I would argue for universal [food] coverage of rural areas and urban slums in most states for the duration of the crisis," said economist Jean Dreze, who has co-authored books on hunger with Nobel laureate Amartya Sen.

India's lockdown will push many more people into poverty, and the government must ensure free food reaches everyone in need, Dreze told Reuters news agency, estimating that a tenth of a population of more than 1.3 billion lacks food security now.

Without provisions for the poor, India could be facing a full-blown humanitarian crisis, especially if the government decides to extend the lockdown, experts say.

"Massive numbers of people will be pushed back into poverty," warned Nikhil Dey, who runs farm rights group Mazdoor Kisan Sangathan (Association of Workers and Farmers).

The Indian government is monitoring the situation "very closely" and will ensure no one goes without food, said a top government official involved in the government food welfare scheme, who sought anonymity in line with government policy.

The International Labour Organization says welfare measures such as food aid are critical for the roughly 380 million people who work in the informal economy, which includes everyone from vegetable sellers to cobblers.

Activists say India is in a comfortable position to give handouts to the needy as mounds of rice, wheat and sugar in brimming granaries leave little space for new season harvests.

Read the full article about why millions lack access to India's relief plan at Aljazeera.