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Rice at Re.1 a kg for Karnataka's poor from Wednesday

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Rice at Re.1 a kg for Karnatakas poor from Wednesday
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Bangalore: The Congress government in Karnataka will launch Wednesday its twice-postponed Re.1 a kg rice scheme to help nearly 10 million poor families in the state.

The families holding BPL (below poverty line) cards will get between 10-30 kg rice per month at Re.1 a kg. One member families can buy up to 10 kgs, two member families 20 kgs and families with three and more members will get 30 kgs.

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah will launch the scheme in Bangalore while ministers will launch it in the districts. The state has 30 districts.

The scheme aims to fulfil a promise the Congress made in its manifesto for the May 5 assembly election which it won defeating the Bharatiya Janata Party.

The scheme was to take off June 1 as announced by Siddaramaiah May 13, soon after he was sworn in.

However, it was postponed to July 1 and later to July 10 as the state government could not arrange about 100,000 tonnes of additional rice required to implement the scheme.

Siddaramaiah estimates the scheme would cost the state government around Rs.4,300 crore a year.

Karnataka produces around 4.2 million tonnes of rice, of which about 350,000 is procured for the central kitty for public distribution system (PDS).

From the central pool, Karnataka gets 178,000 tonnes every month for the PDS and to implement the new scheme it requires additional 107,000 tonnes, according to Minister of State for Food and Civil Supplies Dinesh Gundu Rao.

The government is buying rice from Chhattisgarh, national commodities exchange and central agencies to meet the additional requirement.

IANS

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