It was decided to grant Rs.50 crore and Rs.25 crore to the Kerala State Civil Supplies Corporation and Consumerfed (Kerala State Cooperatives Consumers’ Federation) respectively

A special meeting of the Cabinet on Monday charted out plans to increase the availability of rice in the market.

It was decided to grant Rs.50 crore and Rs.25 crore to the Kerala State Civil Supplies Corporation and Consumerfed (Kerala State Cooperatives Consumers’ Federation) respectively to shore up their market intervention measures.

The Cabinet asked Chief Secretary K. Jose Cyriac to work out modalities to solve the funds crunch faced by the Civil Supplies Corporation, Consumerfed, and the Kerala State Horticultural Products Development Corporation (Horticorp) in consultation with the government Secretaries in charge of Finance, Civil Supplies, Cooperation, and Agriculture.

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy told the media after the meeting that the Chief Secretary would look into the losses incurred by the three agencies in market intervention and their balance sheets before recommending solutions. He would consider payments to be made to the Civil Supplies Corporation as subsidy for paddy procurement. The corporation had made full payment to the farmers after procuring all paddy offered by them for procurement during last season. Procurement for this season has begun and the price has been revised.

Rice and wheat

The Chief Minister said the government would be able to improve the distribution of rice and wheat in view of the special allocation of foodgrains from the Centre. This would be distributed to BPL (below the poverty line) cardholders and people on the BPL list (who do not hold BPL cards) for the next four months.

Mr. Chandy said that foodgrains were now being distributed to five categories of card holders. About 5.9 lakh cardholders coming under the Antyodaya Anna Yojana get 35 kg of rice a month at Re.1 a kg. BPL cardholders, numbering 14.5 lakh, get 25 kg of rice a month at Rs.1 a kg and 10 kg of rice at Rs.2 a kg. Besides, they will get 5 kg of rice at Rs.6.20 a kg and 2 kg of wheat at Rs.4.70 from the special allocation.

Similarly, 11.8 lakh cardholders who are on the BPL list will get 9 kg of rice at Rs.2 a kg and 7 kg of wheat at Rs.2 a kg along with a special allotment of 19 kg of rice at Rs.6.20 a kg and 6 kg of wheat at Rs.4.20 a kg.

In the APL (above the poverty line) category, 30.43 lakh cardholders are eligible for 9 kg of subsidised rice a month at Rs.2 a kg, besides 2 kg of wheat at Rs.2 a kg. Those who are not eligible for State subsidy (17.55 lakh card holders) get 10 kg of rice at Rs.8.90 a kg and 3 kg of wheat at Rs.6.70 a kg.

The Civil Supplies Corporation, the Chief Minister said, will provide 20 kg of rice a month to all categories of cardholders. Matta rice is priced at Rs.16 a kg while Kuruva and Jaya varieties will cost Rs.19 and Rs.21 respectively.

Besides, the rice allocated by the Centre for open market sales will be available at Rs.19 a kg subject to a maximum of 15 kg. (A grade common bold rice will be priced at Rs.21 a kg.)

The Consumerfed will provide 6 kg of rice a week to all cardholders. Raw rice and Matta, Jaya, and Kuruva varieties will be available.

The government, Mr. Chandy said, is providing a total subsidy of Rs.655.2 crore a year on rice to 80.2 lakh cardholders.

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