Centre sabotaging Karnataka’s food scheme: Congress

‘Restricting Open Market Sale Scheme to Karanataka is to stop Anna Bhagya 2.0’

Updated - June 25, 2023 10:28 pm IST

Published - June 25, 2023 04:18 pm IST - New Delhi

Congress leader Jairam Ramesh addresses a press conference in New Delhi. File

Congress leader Jairam Ramesh addresses a press conference in New Delhi. File | Photo Credit: Shiv Kumar Pushpakar

As the Food Corporation of India (FCI) rejected the Opposition-ruled States’ demand to reconsider the decision to restrict purchase through the Open Market Sale Scheme (OMSS), the Congress said in New Delhi on June 25 that it is Karnataka’s durbhagya (misfortune) that the Narendra Modi government is sabotaging the Anna Bhagya 2.0 scheme. The FCI had said the States’ schemes cater to the same set of beneficiaries covered under the Prime Minister’s Garib Kalyan Ann Yojna.

Congress general secretary and MP Jairam Ramesh said from January 1, 2023 till May 24, 2023, the BJP-led government in Karnataka alone lifted more than 95% of the rice procured by all State governments under the OMSS at a rate of ₹3,400 per quintal, presumably with Modiji’s “aashirwaad” (blessings). “Once, the Congress government was formed in Karnataka, as threatened by BJP president J.P. Nadda, this “ashirwaad” has been withdrawn at breakneck speed,” he said and added that the decision to discontinue the OMSS for States was targeted at sabotaging the implementation of the Anna Bhagya 2.0 scheme guaranteed by the Congress to the people of Karnataka.

Mr. Ramesh said in a statement that on June 14, the FCI’s General Manager for Karnataka, withdrew the earlier order of sale of rice on June 12. “Not only that, the Chairman and Managing Director of FCI in a press conference on June 23 said that conditions will be placed such that private traders cannot sell to another State. Isn’t this a clear case of sabotage?,” Mr. Ramesh asked.

He said such a brazen move of the Centre not only targets the additional five kilograms of free rice guaranteed by the Congress government in Karnataka (bringing it to a total of 10 kg free rice), it also affects the basic entitlement of 5 kg that is being given to an additional 39 lakh BPL beneficiaries by the Karnataka State government beyond what is already allocated by the Union government under the National Food Security Act. “The fact is that the FCI has more than enough stocks to meet Karnataka’s and the country’s needs but the Modi government is trying its very best to close every single avenue for the Karnataka government to fulfil its Guarantee to the people of Karnataka,” he said.

He asked if there is a depletion of rice stocks, why the allocation and lifting of rice from the FCI’s central pool stock for ethanol production and blending of petrol continues at the rate of ₹2,000 per quintal. “Why is it that 1.5 LMT [lakh metric tonnes] of rice is allocated for production of ethanol this year if stocks have depleted? Is ethanol production more important than the food security of the people of Karnataka?” he said.

“Why is that the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Ann Yojana is not a ‘revdi’, whereas the Congress Guarantee of 10 kg free rice through the Anna Bhagya 2.0 scheme is vilified and sabotaged? It is nothing but Karnataka’s Durbhagya that Prime Minister Modi is punishing the poor of the State for voting to secure their future. But the Congress government in Karnataka will do everything possible to ensure the rights of the people of Karnataka are protected, and the Guarantee of Anna Bhagya 2.0 with 10 kg free rice is implemented at the earliest, come what may,” the former Union Minister said.

The BJP, however, refuted the charges and asked the Congress to purchase required foodgrains from open market. Union Minister and senior BJP leader from Karnataka Pralhad Joshi said people of Karnataka are getting 5 kg of rice free every month under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojana, apart from 35 kgs free, being provided to the Antyodaya families by the Centre. “Congress can purchase more rice from the open market to fulfill its poll promise of 10 kg rice. There are no restrictions. Congress party should stop lying and blaming the Union Government for its failure in fulfilling its own promise,” Mr. Joshi said.

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.