By B Anbuselvan
Following the Union government’s decision not to sell rice through open market to larger states, including Tamil Nadu, the state government has decided to procure rice from National Cooperative Consumers Federation of India (NCCF).
NCCF, an agency under the Union Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food, and Public Distribution, has been authorised to procure paddy in non-delta districts within the state. So far, the state has purchased 60,000 metric tonnes (MT) of rice from the Union government through the Open Market Sale Scheme (OMSS), at a rate of Rs 35.5 per kg. The rice thus purchased is being distributed to non-priority cardholders and is being utilised for nutritional programmes.
The Tamil Nadu Civil Supplies Corporation (TNCSC) held discussions with NCCF on Friday to address the short supply of rice. An official from TNCSC said, “We have asked NCCF to procure more paddy from non-delta districts to supply additional rice through OMSS. We currently have a stock of 8 lakh metric tonnes of rice and 9 lakh metric tonnes of paddy in our warehouses. There will be no shortage of rice.”
On June 12, the Union government announced the discontinuation of the sale of rice under the Central pool (Food Corporation of India) to states not affected by riots (except North Eastern states). The decision was attributed to the increasing inflation.
The state’s monthly rice demand for the Public Distribution System amounts to 3.5 lakh MT, out of which 1.94 lakh MT is received from the Centre for PHH and AAY card holders under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) at no cost, and an additional 84,000 metric tonnes are obtained through the tide-over allocation at a price of Rs 8.33 per kg. The state government spends Rs 3,500 crore per annum for supply of rice and other commodities through PDS.
“The state has procured nearly 39 lakh metric tonnes of paddy since September last year. We have sufficient stock of paddy and rice. All categories of cardholders will get free supply of rice,” added the official.
This article has been republished from The New Indian Express