Wednesday, February 21, 2024

K’taka BPL families to get cash instead of promised free rice

Karnataka Food and Civil Supplies Minister K H Muniyappa on Friday said the government is all set to roll out the ‘Anna Bhagya’ scheme, by crediting money to the bank account of the beneficiaries in lieu of the additional 5 kg of rice promised to every member of a BPL household, as sufficient quantity of the foodgrain is unavailable.
Facing difficulty in procuring large quantities of rice required to fulfil its poll guarantee, the state government on Wednesday decided to pay cash into the beneficiaries’ accounts at the rate of Rs 34 per kilo, for the additional 5kg of rice under the free rice scheme.
The minister also said that of the total additional 5 kg, the government plans to include 2 kg of ragi (finger millet) and jowar (sorghum) — instead of rice — under the scheme in the southern and northern parts of Karnataka respectively, as per requirement, as these grains are considered a staple in these two regions.
In the southern part of the state, the government plans to give 2 kg of ragi and remaining will be rice, while in north Karnataka it will be 2 kg of jowar and remaining will be rice, the minister said. There is adequate stock of ragi available, while the stock of jowar is less, so we will supply as much as we can, after that we will provide a full 5 kg of rice, he added.
Speaking to reporters here, he said the amount will be paid to the bank account of the beneficiaries until there are enough grains to be distributed.
“The process is on for purchase of rice, as we had said we will supply rice or foodgrains for the poor…” he added.
Pointing out that the chief minister had promised to supply foodgrains from July 1, which is a Congress poll guarantee, Muniyappa said, “To keep up the promise, we are giving money for now.”
“If the Centre had given rice from the stocks available, for cash payment, the state government would have supplied it from tomorrow,” he said, adding, “Our month-long efforts in getting rice despite approaching central ministers and officials have failed.”
“There are issues (in procuring rice). We have to issue a public tender. It has not been finalised. Also what kind of rice. We will decide on it and start giving rice as soon as possible,” he added.
Asked as to how long the government will pay the amount to the account of the beneficiaries instead of supplying rice or foodgrains, the minister said, “I cannot give you a date for now, but I assure you that we will give rice as soon as possible. Giving money is a temporary arrangement.”
On whether cash would be credited to the bank accounts from tomorrow itself, he said, “Money is ready, we have information about accounts. It will begin from tomorrow.”

SourcePTI

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