Centre ready to procure rice from Telangana, but insists for only raw rice

Amidst the BJP government’s attempts for political upmanship by putting the Telangana government in trouble, the farmers are getting jittery over paddy procurement during the Yasangi (Rabi) season.

Just like last year, the Union government is insisting on supply of raw rice despite the Telangana’s plea to allow boiled rice, considering the losses suffered due to milling and huge quantum of broken rice due to high temperatures during summer.

However, the Telangana government, like the past, is making arrangements to procure as much paddy as possible from farmers. Of about 1.5 crore tonnes of paddy yield is expected during Yasangi season, about 80-90 lakh tonnes of paddy is likely to be procured by the State government.

A team of officials led by Civil Supplies Minister Gangula Kamalakar had recently visited Delhi and discussed with the Food Ministry as well as the Food Corporation of India (FCI) over paddy procurement. Though the Centre has agreed to procure entire rice supplied by the State government, it has asserted that the entire stock should be supplied as raw rice.

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The Central government’s decision is a relief for about 60 lakh farmers who are expected to reap a bumper harvest in the Yasangi season. However, this would cause huge loss for the State government as it will be procuring entire paddy from farmers by paying Minimum Support Price of Rs 2,040 per tonne.

While the Vaanakalam crop gives 66-68 kg of rice per 100 kg of paddy, the Yasangi crop gives only 60-62, making it less remunerative for millers. Thus, the State government is forced to compensate to some extent to the millers leading to additional burden on the State. “Though the Centre responded positively to procure 80 lakh tonnes of paddy or about 55-57 lakh tonnes of rice, it has said strict no to parboiled rice. Due to harsh temperature while harvesting, the grain turns brittle and yields lesser quantity of rice during Yasangi season compared to the Vaanakalam season,” an official explained.

During last Yasangi season, the Union government created similar problems over the procurement of parboiled rice, giving anxious moments to the farmers as well as the State government. The FCI claimed that it had surplus stocks of parboiled rice that can help the central pool to meet the demand from the consuming States over the next four years. But with the Centre deciding to extend the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Ann Yojana (PMGKAY) scheme, there was a sudden demand for parboiled rice in several States following which the Centre asked Telangana to supply the pending stocks as parboiled rice.

This article has been republished from Telengana Today