Govt to shell out more to supply tur to poor families

The open market price of tur is about Rs 72 per kg. The state government supplies the pulse to 1.04 crore BPL families at a subsidised price of Rs 38 per kg. DH File Photo

Starting May, the cash-strapped state government will have to shell out more for ensuring monthly supply of tur dal for 1.04 crore poor families (Below Poverty Line families) under the Public Distribution System (PDS).

For, the State Food and Civil Supplies Department (SFCSD) will have to start purchasing tur (whole) from the open market for this purpose as /the Centre has exhausted the stock under Price Stabilisation Fund (PSF) scheme. Additional burden on the State government, if it decides to purchase from the open market, is estimated at Rs 288 crore per annum.

The SFCSD so far used to get tur at a concessional rate of around Rs 52 per kg under PSF scheme. It, in turn, used to supply tur dal to the BPL families at a highly subsidised rate of Rs 38 per kg – shouldering the burden of Rs 14 per kg. “The PSF stock is exhausted now. Hence, the department has to purchase tur dal from open market from this month,” Commissioner for Food and Civil Supplies T H M Kumar said.

The open market price of tur is about Rs 72 per kg. All BPL families are entitled to one kg tur dal under the PDS in the state. The total monthly requirement of tur dal is 12,300 metric tonnes. The SFCSD has put up a proposal for the open market purchase of tur before the Cabinet, Kumar said.

If the Cabinet approves the open market purchase, the total food subsidy bill will cross Rs 4,000 crore this financial year.

The Centre had purchased about 20 lakh metric tonnes of pulses directly from farmers through National Agricultural Co-operative Marketing Federation Ltd (NAFED) using PSF in 2017. This was aimed at stabilising the rate of pulses in case of prices shooting up in the open market. As the prices remained stable in 2018, the Centre started releasing the stock it had to states under PDS.

The state governments, including Karnataka, had been purchasing tur from NAFED, which used to conduct monthly auction.

Elections delay supply

In fact, sources in the department said supply of tur dal to the BPL families was affected in April due to elections. The Centre delayed fixing the price for auction of tur in March citing elections. The SFCSD, however, managed to supply using buffer stock it had maintained, the sources added.

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