Bharat rice not subsidised, its sale price higher than what it costs: Kerala CM

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan with State Minister for Civil Supplies GR Anil and former minister Antony Raju (centre) during the launch ceremony of the Sabari K-Rice distribution initiative, in Thiruvananthapuram, Wednesday, March 13, 2024.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan with State Minister for Civil Supplies GR Anil and former minister Antony Raju (centre) during the launch ceremony of the Sabari K-Rice distribution initiative, in Thiruvananthapuram, Wednesday, March 13, 2024.

Thiruvananthapuram | Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Wednesday attacked the Centre, accusing it of selling 'Bharat rice' at a price higher than its cost, and said the union government only has profit on its mind.

Vijayan, after launching the Kerala government's 'Sabari K rice' which will be sold through state-run SupplyCo outlets at Rs 29 and Rs 30 per kg, alleged that Bharat rice was not subsidised.

It is bought by the Centre at a cost of Rs 18.59 per kilogram and then sold to the public at Rs 29 per kg, he alleged.

The CM also claimed that the same rice sold under the 'Bharat' brand by the Centre, was sold by the state government through SupplyCo outlets for Rs 24 per kg and at ration shops for Rs 10.9 per kg.

"So, the Centre is selling the rice with a desire for profit as well as for political gains," the CM alleged.

The CM said that Sabari K rice is procured by the state government at Rs 40 per kg and then it will be sold at subsidised rates through SupplyCo.

"This is how the state government is carrying out effective market intervention in foodgrains supply for the benefit of the people. The state government is selling the rice with the welfare of the people in mind. This shows the difference in approach of the two governments," the CM said.

What the Centre is doing is just one among a long line of wrong interventions made by it in supplying foodgrains to the state, he further said.

Alleging that the union government forcibly took payment for foodgrains that it supplied during the floods in the state, he said the Centre also took steps that would hamper the midday meal scheme in schools.

"So, we cannot expect anything from them that would benefit the people," the CM contended.

Bharat rice was launched by the Centre in the first week of February.

The rice is provided by the Food Corporation of India (FCI) to the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Ltd (NAFED), the National Cooperative Consumers' Federation of India (NCCF) and retail chain Kendriya Bhandar.

These agencies pack the rice in 5 kg and 10 kg bags and sell it through their outlets under the 'Bharat' brand.

The union government has resorted to the retail sale of FCI rice after it received a lukewarm response on its sale of rice to bulk users at the same rate through the Open Market Sale Scheme (OMSS).

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