By Bansi Kalappa
BPL and APL cardholders are waiting for 10 kg of rice under the Anna Bhagya scheme. But the state government, which has been facing problems sourcing large quantities of rice for the scheme, has been giving out cash to each beneficiary instead of 5 kg of rice.
Though the government is exploring different options, it is faced with a fresh issue of rising global prices of rice, and tickers have been zooming at the international rice market in Singapore. To prevent any inflationary pressure on households, the central government has banned the export of non-basmati rice.
Former Food Corporation of India chairman DV Prasad told The New Indian Express, “Karnataka has become an accidental pioneer for cash transfer for the extra 5 kg free rice because of the circumstances. Since beneficiaries already get 5 kg through the central government programme, it would be ideal to continue with cash transfer as it gives beneficiaries the freedom to buy other essentials.”
Food Minister KH Muniyappa said, “We are not perturbed by international developments. It will be resolved in a month. I have held three meetings with all the stakeholders. By September, we should be able to stop cash distribution and restore rice distribution like we had originally planned.”
Fresh kharif rice will come by Oct-Nov, says ex-FCI chief
“INSTEAD of rice, we are trying to give ragi in southern parts of the state and jowar in northern areas. We will manage the supplies,” Muniyappa said. Prasad said, “I wonder how they can restore normal rice supplies in September.
The fresh kharif rice will come by October-November and only then the state government can stabilise supplies.’’ Meanwhile, food experts said the price of free rice won’t be Rs 34 anymore and it could go up to Rs 42-44 over the next few months, increasing the burden on the state’s exchequer.
This article has been republished from New Indian Express
By Bansi Kalappa