This is to meet the shortfall for the subsidised rice scheme

The subsidised rice scheme, an ambitious project of the State government that was part of its election manifesto, will be implemented across the State from July 10, with the government opting to purchase the shortfall in rice from Chhattisgarh.

The State government will be spending around Rs. 4,500 crore annually for providing rice at Re. 1 a kg (not more than 30 kg to a family) for below poverty line card holders. This includes purchasing around one lakh tonnes of rice a month from the open market. Karnataka on Friday entered an agreement with the Chhattisgarh government to purchase rice for the month of July as tenders are yet to be floated to purchase rice on a long-term basis from the open market. The State will be paying around Rs. 27 per kg and the same will be made available to the beneficiaries at Re. 1.

Restrictions

Minister for Food and Civil Supplies Dinesh Gundu Rao told The Hindu that in an effort to reduce the government’s burden in the distribution of the subsidised rice, which is expected to cost the State exchequer quite heavily, certain new restrictions have been enforced. A card holder with only one name registered in it will be eligible only for 10 kg of rice; a card with two names will be given 20 kg; and a card with more than four names will be eligible for not more than 30 kg of rice. As per the earlier plan, all card holders would have been eligible for 30 kg.

According to government records, there are nearly nine lakh cards with only one name registered in each of them and this is expected to reduce the quantum of rice required, by 20 lakh tonnes per month. The earlier estimation was that round 2.8 lakh tonnes of rice is required and the State government has been assured by the Centre that most of the quantum required (around 1.5 lakh tonnes) will be made available. Mr. Dinesh Gundu Rao said large number of duplicate and fake cards in the system would be weeded out. This would reduce the burden on the government and ensure that only the eligible receive assistance. The State is contemplating a total review of the PDS and the BPL cards.

Sources in the State government told The Hindu that around 50,000 tonnes of rice has since been received for the implementation of the scheme from the Central pool although there is still a gap of around 30,000 tonnes.

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