Food Minister to visit B'lore

Food Minister to visit B'lore

Union Food and Consumer Affairs Minister K V Thomas, who refused to make any commitment on allotting additional rice to Karnataka, is likely to be in Bangalore on June 10 and 11 to review the Public Distribution System (PDS)  in the State.

When Karnataka Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Dinesh Gundu Rao met the Union Minister on Thursday to seek the Centre’s help in granting additional rice to Karnataka, Thomas reportedly did not make a commitment. “The Karnataka Food Minister met me and asked for additional rice from June,” Thomas told Deccan Herald. “But the Ministry is still studying the proposal.”

While appreciating the computerisation programme implemented by the Karnataka government, he said he will review the modernisation of the PDS, during his visit to Bangalore. Sources claimed that the Food Minister said if Karnataka is ready to shell out Rs 19 per kg of rice (the rate fixed by the Food Corporation of India under its open market access scheme), the Centre can supply some quantity of rice.

However, Karnataka, while requesting the allotment of additional rice at Rs 5.65 (the rate the Ministry of Food currently supplies to the State under the Below Poverty Line (BPL category) said that paying Rs 19 per kg would lead to an additional burden of
Rs 4,000 crore per month on the exchequer.

At present, the State gets 1.48 lakh tonne rice a month under the PDS. It has sought an additional 1.82 lakh tonne per month to fulfill its poll promise of providing 30 kg rice per BPL family at Re 1 kg per month.

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