ANDHRA PRADESH

CM refutes charges on rice scheme

Opposition says decision to introduce Rs. 2 kilo rice is with an eye on elections in 2009

HYDERABAD: Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy has refuted the charges of a section of Opposition leaders that the government was trying to introduce Rs. 2 kilo rice from April 1 next year with an eye on the elections in 2009.

The government has been contemplating to implement the scheme since the past few months, but the proposal could not materialise as provision for the scheme was not made in the budget. It had, therefore, decided to make necessary provisions in the budget and launch the scheme from the next financial year.

Dr. Reddy said the government was presently incurring Rs. 1,000 crore in addition to the Central subsidy of Rs. 3,000 crore for supplying rice at Rs. 5.25 a kg through fair price shops.

It would require another Rs. 1,000 crore for providing rice at Rs. 2 a kg to the white ration card holders who were affected on account of the rise in prices of other essentials, he said in an interview to a television channel.

Efforts would, however, be made to ensure that there was no cut in the plan allocation for implementing the scheme.

Claims dismissed

He dismissed the claims that the government was trying to woo the people in the name of subsidised rice as the other schemes like Indiramma and Jalayagnam failed to yield results.

Replying to queries on the extension of Pavala Vaddi scheme (three per cent interest a year) to farmers, he said the government had taken several steps to ensure that agriculturists secured crop insurance promptly in case of any adversity.

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