2 kg ragi under PDS along with rice: Khader

Minister for Food and Civil Supplies U T Khader said the government will purchase ragi from farmers from month-end to provide better prices to farmers.

Speaking to reporters here on Friday, he said that the decision to purchase ragi under minimum support price scheme has been taken on the direction of CM Siddaramaiah after discussing it with agriculture minister.

Two kg of Ragi will be distributed through Public Distribution System (PDS) with the rice wherever there is demand. The ragi will be purchased for Rs 2,300 per quintal from the farmers (Rs 1,900 from the Central government and Rs 400 from the state government). At present, ragi fetches Rs 1,500 per quintal in the market. The purchase of ragi by the government will also help in avoiding middlemen, he added.

Khader said that the government had already purchased tur dal under minimum support price scheme for Rs 6,000 per quintal (Rs 5,550 from the Central government and Rs 450 from state government) and the purchased tur dal has already been distributed through PDS. At present, the tur dal fetches Rs 3,500 to Rs 4,500 per quintal in the market. Only Karnataka pays incentive with the minimum support price announced by the Centre while purchasing farm produce from the farmers, Khader added. Stating that there 1.10 crore ration card holders in Karnataka, the minister said that there is a demand for 11 metric tonnes of tur dal. About two lakh tonnes of ragi are likely to be purchased from the farmers, he stated. The Centre has given approval for the purchase of jowar as well. The purchase under minimum support price will commence in March. There are 22 essential food produce, including maize, that is listed by the Centre to purchase under minimum support price, he said.

The Centre has laid down a condition that maize can be purchased only if it is ditributed through PDS. "Maize is not used as food in Karnataka. On the direction of the Chief Minister, a delegation led by agriculture minister and myself had met Union minister in this regard. We have sought permission from the Centre to purchase maize and distribute it in states where it is used as food. A letter by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah in this regard has been submitted to the Centre," he said.

"Actor Prakash Rai is son of the soil. Nobody has the right to oppose him. He will inaugurate Karavali Utasv," Khader said.

"There has been severe opposition i social media to the Karavali Utsav inauguration by Prakash Rai. This is not a Hitler era to say what dress to wear and what food to eat. Who are they to say who has to attend the Karavali utsav?" he asked.

To a query on Hindu task force to counter alleged love jihad, the minister said "All the task forces come into force when election is nearing. The police will look into the issue."

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