In a big relief to the Below Poverty Line (BPL) beneficiaries, the Centre will provide them additional two kilogram of subsidised sugar under the Targetted Public Distribution System(TPDS) at the current central issue price rate of Rs 13.50 paise per kg during the festival month of September or October. As against this, sugar prices are ruling between Rs. 32 and Rs. 34 kg in retail markets due low sugar output and hoarding by bulk buyers.

The government has decided that the 6.52 crore BPL beneficiaries would have the choice of availing the one-time distribution of 2 kg festival sugar at Rs. 13.50 paise per kg either during September or in October. This would mean an additional distribution of 1.73 lakh tonnes of sugar for one month.

Undecided

The government has, however, put on hold its proposal to give 2 kg sugar to Above Poverty line ration card holders . Having persuaded sugar mills to give 20 per cent (instead of 10 per cent) of their production as levy for the TPDS, the central government was planning to provide 2 kg to about 9.3 crore APL card holders at an enhanced rate of Rs. 22 kg. This can still happen, but is now likely from next year, according to highly placed sources.

At present, the government provides 500 grams of sugar per BPL person per month at Rs. 13.50 paise per kg under TPDS. In the northeast, Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Island Territories, the government provides 700 grams per person including APL beneficiaries totalling 2.14 crore at the subsidised rate of Rs 13.50 paise per kg.

Now the government will provide additional 2 kg sugar per family to about 8.66 crore card holders at Rs 13.50 paise per kg. With the sugar crushing season about to commence and the arrival of imported raw and refined sugar, the government says it has enough stocks for the poor for the festival month.

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