The State Government has bowed to the increasing demand from certain districts for including wheat and jowar under the “Anna Bhagya” scheme. The government may sell wheat and jowar at Re 1 per kg from September.
When contacted by Deccan Herald, Food and Civil Supplies Minister Dinesh Gundu Rao said: “In parts of North Karnataka, rice is not consumed in heavy quantity. It is primarily jowar or wheat which is consumed there.
Providing 30 kg of rice under the scheme will mean that there will be diversion of certain quantities of rice in the black market. As a result, we have already prepared a note for the Cabinet approval in this regard.”
The department is contemplating providing these food grains as they are much easier to procure within the State. “Instead of trying to get rice from Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra or other states, the procurement of jowar will benefit our own farmers,” said the minister.
Farmers have already come forward to sell the requisite jowar for distribution under the public distribution system.
The State Government has already received approval to supply wheat at Re 1 per kg under the Anna Bhagya and Antyodaya schemes. “At present, we are supplying 6 kg of wheat at Rs 3 per kg for the Antyodaya scheme. This has already been reduced to Re 1 per kg,” he said.
The government has 27 metric tonnes of wheat stocks, as allotted by the Centre. “Even if we take out six or seven metric tonnes of wheat for the Antyodaya scheme, we have 20 metric tonnes of the food grain to be distributed,” said the minister.
Earlier, replying to questions posed by BJP member Ganesh Karnik in the Council, Rao said: “Depending on demand, some amount of wheat will be provided to families who consume wheat. Maybe we’ll consider providing 25 kg rice and five kg of wheat or 20 kg rice and 10 kg wheat,” Rao explained.
The minister hopes to table the proposal either at the next Cabinet meeting or after that.
Stree Shakthi groups
On the demand for more fair price shops for distributing the food grains, Rao said that there was disparity in the number of people the shops cater to. Some cater to nearly 3,000 people, others just 250-300 families.
“We should look at the viability of these shops, besides considering the possibility of opening some more. The government is trying to check the provision of licences to individuals who account for most complaints. We’ll rather assign the work to gram panchayats or societies,” said the minister.
Rao added that a proposal to provide licences to women, who are considered “less corrupt,” was being considered. “Stree Shakthi groups will be preferred as they are well-networked in districts and taluks,” he said.
When asked whether the rice received from the Centre meant for APL families was being distributed to BPL families, Rao said the Food Security Ordinance would remove that divide. “The ordinance will cover 67 per cent of citizens across the country. There will be no APL or BPL families, only those who are included in and excluded from the Ordinance as per the Centre’s criteria,” he said.
Govt to weed out bogus ration cards
There are five lakh to ten lakh bogus ration cards in circulation in the State, Food and Civil Supplies Minister Dinesh Gundu Rao informed the Legislative Council on Monday. The government is trying to weed out such cards.
He was replying to questions by MLCs on the huge gap between the number of BPL ration card holders enumerated by the State (86.92 lakh) and the Centre (31.29 lakh).
The bogus ones will be weeded out, based on conversion of ration cards into biometric cards.
The minister added that the government had stopped issuing biometric cards until August.