Karnataka: Cabinet rejigs rice for Re 1 per kg scheme

Karnataka: Cabinet rejigs rice for Re 1 per kg scheme

Karnataka: Cabinet rejigs rice for Re 1 per kg scheme

Unable to mobilise the huge quantity of rice, the State Cabinet on Thursday decided to retain the unit system (fixing quantity of rice per person) for implementing the rice-for-Re 1-per-kg scheme to be launched from July 1.

Besides, the Cabinet discussed the possibility of supplying ragi and jowar under the public distri­bution system (PDS) along with rice, but no decision was taken.

Instead of the present four kg per unit or person, however, the Cabinet has decided to increase the quantum to 10 kg per person per month under the scheme with a maximum ceiling of 30 kg per family. For a family of two persons, 20 kg rice will be given per month.

All families having more than two members will get a maximum of 30 kg per month, Law Minister T B Jayachandra told reporters after the Cabinet meeting.

On the day of assuming office, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah announced complete scrapping of the unit system under the PDS and decided to give 30 kg rice to all below poverty line (BPL) families from June 1.

But the launch of the scheme was postponed to July 1 due to non-availability of such a huge quantity of rice (an additional 1.50 lakh metric tonnes per month). Even minors, including toddlers, are considered part of a family, and they are counted as a unit if their names are included in the ration card.

The government has introduced the new system (new unit system) due to shortage of rice. But every person under BPL family will get 10 kg rice per month instead of four kg. A total of 30 kg rice will be given to families having more than two members, said Jayachandra.

The new unit system, official sources said, will reduce the burden on the government to a considerable extent. Of the total 87 lakh BPL cardholders, about eight lakh come under single person category and about 15 lakh belong to two-person family category.

As a result, the total quantity of rice required for the scheme will come down by about 40,000 metric tonnes per month. The scheme is estimated to require about Rs 4,900 crore per annum under the new unit system, as against about Rs 5,800 crore estimated for providing 30 kg rice to all.

The Cabinet also gave its nod for procuring rice required for the scheme from the open market. The Food and Civil Supplies department is planning to call a tender for rice procurement from other states and participate in online trading in the National Commodity and Derivatives Exchange Limited . The cost of rice in the open market is estimated to be Rs 28 to Rs 30 per kg, the minister said.

Jayachandra said that the Cabinet discussed supplying ragi and jowar considering the regional food habits.