Centre not selling states’ rice to keep rates in check: Goyal

Amid a political row after Karnataka accused the Centre of refusing to sell rice from central reserves, Union minister Piyush Goyal on Tuesday said the Centre’s refusal to provide rice to several states from its stocks is meant to ensure that the price of the grain does not increase in the open market and people continue to get it at affordable rates.

A committee of secretaries decided that the stock of rice at central reserves be kept to “serve 140 crore people of the country” and states can purchase the rice from the market if they need, the Union minister for consumer affairs, food and public distribution told reporters at the BJP headquarters when asked for his comment on protests in Karnataka over the supply of rice.

The politics over the supply of rice to Karnataka heated up on Tuesday with the gorverning Congress and the opposition BJP staging demonstrations in various parts of the state. Congress staged protests in all district headquarters of the state against the Centre for allegedly denying rice for the Karnataka government’s Anna Bhagya scheme.

On the other hand, several BJP leaders including former CM Bommai were detained while holding protests in some parts of the state against the Congress government’s alleged failure to provide 10 kg rice to each member of the BPL family. Recently, the Union government discontinued the sale of rice and wheat from the central pool under the Open Market Sale Scheme to state governments.

This article has been republished from The Times of India

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