Running the public distribution system being a collective responsibility of the Central and State governments, Kerala's decision to provide rice at Rs.2 a kg for 35 lakh families, would be jointly implemented, Minister for Food and Civil Supplies C. Divakaran has said. Replying to questions in the State Assembly on Tuesday, Mr. Divakaran said between 2001 and 2005, the State government had lifted only 90 per cent of the grain allotment, but during the past four years there was no laxity in lifting the total allotment.

The increase in rice prices was one of the main reasons for lifting the quota without any lapse. The rice allotted to the State at Rs.6.20 a kg for BPL families was earlier distributed for Rs.3 a kg. Now, the same quota was being given at Rs.2 a kg. “Though the Centre has announced a scheme to provide rice at Rs.3 a kg to the State, it has not been implemented so far.”

The Minister said the Centre had not yet responded positively to the government's repeated requests to restore the rice quota. But for Defence Minister A.K. Antony, no other Minister from the State in the Union Cabinet had intervened in the issue.

‘No time frame set'

“No specific time frame has been set for issuing new ration cards. All applications are being scrutinised and cards issued continuously. The facility for submitting applications will be extended to more places,” he said.