State to increase levy order for its Re-1 rice scheme

Govt can procure five lakh MT in a year from the Central pool

State to increase levy order for its Re-1 rice scheme

The Karnataka government is contemplating making complete use of rice available under the levy system (rice the State procures for the Central pool) to mobilise foodgrains for the Re-one per kg rice scheme, Food and Civil Supplies Minister Dinesh Gundu Rao said on Friday.

Currently, the percentage of levy is 33.33 in the State or, in other words, the government can collect up to five lakh metric tonnes (MT) of rice for the Central pool in a year. But only about 50,000 MT are being collected now. “We are planning to make use of rice available under the levy system for implementing the rice scheme. Plans are on the cards to increase the levy percentage,” he told reporters.

Under the levy system, rice will be procured from rice mill owners and traders for distribution under the Public Distribution System (PDS).

The Centre has made it mandatory for all the States to implement levy order for the purpose. But in the last few years, the Centre stopped pressuring the states to follow the levy order as foodgrains were available in adequate quantity with the Food Corporation of India, he said.
The government, which is struggling to modiblise rice for its ambitious scheme, is also exploring the possibility of procuring rice directly from the farmers, he added.

However, the officials fear that increasing the levy percentage or strict implementation of the levy order would lead to steep hike in rice price.

From Chhattisgarh

The State government has decided to buy rice at Rs 22.60 per kg from the Chhattisgarh government to implement the rice scheme, which is scheduled to be launched State-wide on July 10. It was decided at a meeting attended by Rao and his Chhattisgarh counterpart Punnulal Mohle.

The total cost, including the transportation, is estimated to be Rs 27 per kg. The government has decided to buy 25,000 MT from Chhattisgarh for July. For future requirement, the government will call tender and participate in online trading of NCDX, he added.

The minister said the department is taking all necessary steps to weed out bogus ration cards in the State.

Kerosene-free city

Rao said the department has a plan to make Bangalore kerosene-free, by ensuring the adequate supply of LPG and CNG.

He said it is still being discussed and that the government has not taken any decision in this regard.

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