Kerala urges Centre to increase rice allocation, demands payment of dues

Representational image | Photo: Mathrubhumi

New Delhi: Minister of Food and Civil Supplies GR Anil has informed that the state has urged the Centre to increase the rice allocation under the Public Distribution System (PDS). The state has also sought relaxation in the Centre’s mandate that only fortified rice will be distributed through PDS, he noted. The Centre has maintained that it will consider the demand to increase the rice allocation for Kerala after the conduct of the population census, he added.

He was interacting with media persons after meeting Union food minister Piyush Goyal in New Delhi.

Anil pointed out that the Centre’s decision to distribute 5 kg foodgrains under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Anna Yojna (PMGKAY) scheme was a relief to priority cardholders in Kerala. However, after the Centre decides to stop the scheme, foodgrain allocation to the states was reduced to nearly half.

Similarly, the state used to receive 16.25 lakh tonnes of foodgrains annually before the enactment of National Food Security Act (NFSA) in 2016. However, now, this has been reduced to 14.25 lakh tonnes.

The minister said that the state has requested 2 lakh ton of rice to resolve the shortage.
The minister added that the state has requested the Centre to exempt the state's ‘Chembavu rice’ from the fortifying process. He said the Union government should otherwise bear the cost of fortifying the rice.

Anil further said that the state has demanded the Centre to immediately pay the Rs 405 crore that is due in connection with rice procurement

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