Government contemplating minimum support price for these foodgrains: Minister
Minister of State for Food and Civil Supplies Dinesh Gundu Rao has said that the State government is contemplating purchasing jowar, ragi, wheat and paddy directly from farmers for distribution to beneficiaries under the Anna Bhagya scheme.
He was speaking to presspersons here on Sunday on the sidelines of a function organised to mark the death anniversary of the former Chief Minister R. Gundu Rao.
Mr. Dinesh Gundu Rao said that the Cabinet had decided to give jowar, ragi, wheat and boiled rice depending on the regional requirements to beneficiaries apart from rice. “To meet the demand, we have to procure foodgrains from other States. Instead, the government is contemplating procuring these foodgrains from farmers in the State giving them minimum support price as it would help farmers directly,” he said.
The Minister said that last year’s minimum support price for jowar was Rs. 1,500 per quintal. The government was contemplating increasing minimum support price and procuring jowar from farmers at a higher price, he said.
He said that a helpline centre set up to address grievances of the public and check irregularities in the public distribution system would become functional by September-end.
He said that apart from providing biometric systems at the PDS shops, it had been planned to computerise the warehouses. The Deputy Commissioner had been directed to monitor the stock and a vigilance squad would be made active, he said. Mr. Dinesh Gundu Rao said that it had been observed that in some places the officials of his department were involved in misappropriation. He said that he would tour the State from September and take steps to check corruption in the department.
He said that the government would soon hike commission for those running PDS shops. Even wages given to headload workers would be increased from Rs. 6 per bag in September, he said.
Mr. Dinesh Gundu Rao said that of the 22 lakh new applications for ration cards, 17 lakh applications were for BPL cards and the process of disposing them of would be completed in two months.
It would take another six months to identify bogus cards, he said.
He said that with the implementation of the Food Security Bill, State governments would be able to save Rs. 600 crore each and the Opposition parties should desist from opposing the Bill, he said.