Govt in quandary over cheap food grain for poor

BPL share of food grain will be less than the present allocation


According to the announcement made by President Pratibha Patil in her address to the joint sitting of Parliament recently, every BPL family — both in urban and rural areas — will get 25 kg of rice or wheat per month at Rs 3 per kg.

But, executing this is proving to be a challenge for the government as poorest among poor particularly those who are holding  Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) card will be hit as their share of food grain will come down compared to what they are receiving  now.

Currently, the Government is giving 35 kg of wheat (at Rs 2 per kg) or rice (at Rs 3 per kg) through the public distribution system to AAY beneficiaries who total around 2.5 crore. If the promise of the Government is implemented, the AAY consumers will not only be getting 10 kg less food grain but will also have to pay Rs 1 more for a kg of wheat.
The scheme certainly will benefit BPL families in terms of cost of food grain but quantity wise they too will get 10 kg less. For BPL who’s number stood at 4 crore families, the government is currently giving 35 kg of food grain at the price of Rs 4.15 per kg of wheat and Rs 5.65 per kg of rice. 

Though the officials are still working out the estimated costs for implementing the scheme, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee is likely to keep Rs 50,000 crore for this head in the next month's budget, sources told Deccan Herald. 

More over, the end price which the consumers have to pay will be around 50 paise more than the government-fixed price of Rs 3 per kg, on account of the transportation cost which the card holders will have to bear. 

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