In light of challenges faced by the Karnataka government in procuring sufficient quantities of rice to fulfill its electoral promise, it has decided to provide cash to beneficiaries instead of the additional 5 kg of rice under the ‘Anna Bhagya’ scheme. The state government will disburse the amount at a rate of Rs 34 per kilogram, starting from July 1.
The Congress party had included in its election manifesto the commitment to provide an extra five kilograms of rice per month to complement the five kilograms already provided by the Central government for free.
Karnataka’s Food and Civil Supplies Minister, K.H. Muniyappa, addressed reporters in Bengaluru after a Cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Wednesday. He explained, “The Food Corporation of India (FCI) has set a standard rate of Rs 34 per kilogram of rice. We attempted to procure rice, but no institution came forward to supply the required amount for the additional distribution.”
Given that the launch date of the Anna Bhagya scheme is imminent, Muniyappa revealed that the Cabinet, including Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and Deputy Chief Minister D.K. Shivakumar, made the decision to provide cash at the FCI rate of Rs 34 per kilogram until the rice supply is available. This cash will be distributed to the beneficiaries holding Below Poverty Line (BPL) ration cards.
Under this arrangement, individuals listed on a single card will receive Rs 170 per month in lieu of the promised five kilograms of additional rice. For ration cards with two individuals, the entitlement will be Rs 340 per month. Similarly, if there are five members on the card, they will receive Rs 850 monthly.
Muniyappa emphasized that the government has taken steps to deposit the cash directly into the beneficiaries’ bank accounts. This new arrangement will be effective from July 1, fulfilling a significant electoral promise made by the ruling party soon after coming to power.
The ‘Anna Bhagya’ scheme has been an essential program for providing subsidized food grains to the needy in Karnataka, aiming to alleviate hunger and ensure food security for vulnerable sections of society. However, due to procurement challenges, the temporary provision of cash as an alternative demonstrates the government’s commitment to fulfilling its obligations to the beneficiaries.
As the disbursement of cash commences under the revised scheme, the Karnataka government will continue its efforts to secure an adequate rice supply to restore the original objective of providing food grains to those in need.
Sources By Agencies