The additional allotment of 2.5 lakh tonnes of rice to Tamil Nadu by the Centre will help ensure trouble-free distribution to cardholders under the public distribution system.
Owing to the additional allotment, the State will have no difficulty in supplying 20 kg of rice to cardholders till next year as it already has a stock of 9.62 lakh tonnes of rice, including the paddy component.
According to a senior official of the Food Department, there is a mismatch between the monthly off-take of PDS rice and the Central allotment. While the off-take is 3.17 lakh tonnes, the allotment is 2.96 lakh tonnes resulting in a shortage of about 2.5 lakh tonnes per annum. The cumulative shortage in the last four years was about 6.8 lakh tonnes. Despite the shortage, the State managed to maintain the normal PDS supply, thanks to additional allotment made by the Centre now and then. Till March this year, the Centre had sanctioned 5 lakh tonnes of additional rice over the last three years.
Besides, the State purchased one lakh tonnes of rice from the Andhra Pradesh Civil Supplies Corporation and planned to purchase another one lakh tonnes from APCSC at the levy price to meet the shortage. After the Centre allotted the additional 2.5 lakh tonnes, the State decided to suspend the purchase of rice from APCSC.
The official said if the Centre had not allotted additional quota, the State would have had difficulty in maintaining the supply as there would have been a shortage of another 2.5 lakh tonnes for the current year. The State had decided to purchase rice from the open market by floating tender, which would have jacked up the open market price.
For the present allotment, the State would be paying Rs.15.37 per kg, which was less than the prevailing open market price of Rs.20 per kg.