Acquisition of levy rice may come down to 10 pc

The State government is likely to modify its levy rice acquisition in the next few months. According to the Food and Civil Supplies minister Dinesh Gundu Rao, the government is contemplating on bringing down the levy of 33 per cent to 10 or 15 per cent.

“Earlier, we used to collect levy rice from the millers at 33 per cent of the produce.

However, considering that we do not require much of the levy rice, we are looking at having an annual agreement with the millers as per our requirement. We may bring the
levy rice to 10 or 15 per cent of the production,” said Gundu Rao.

While this option is being explored in the short-term, the food and civil supplies department is looking at a long-term option of modifying the levy system by amending the Central Government-prescribed Levy Act of 1999.

It is said that the government is looking at ending the present system of mill point levy and introducing custom milling.

According to Rao, the government is looking at buying paddy directly from the farmers by paying the Minimum Support Price and sending it for customised milling to the mills.

“The system will ensure that the millers are not forced to produce the mandatory 33 per cent of levy rice, and help in addressing the present concerns of the rice millers.

Under this system, the government will allocate the paddy to local and small scale millers to adhere to our PDS requirements. Based on the production, we will pay them husking charges,” said the minister.

Sona Masuri option

It is stated that if the levy act is amended, the millers will be allowed to produce the finer quality of rice, Sona Masuri, for the open market without restrictions.

The department is now forwarding the policy decision to the Centre, for its approval to amend the Levy Act.

Karnataka will then be the second state to opt for customised milling. It is said Chhattisgarh has already implemented this policy.

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