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Karnataka Rice Millers Assure Partial Fulfillment of Anna Bhagya Rice Requirement

As the Karnataka government continues its search for rice suppliers, it is crucial that they engage with the Karnataka Rice Millers' Association to explore the benefits of involving local millers in the Anna Bhagya scheme.

Shivam Dwivedi
Karnataka Rice Millers Assure Partial Fulfillment of Anna Bhagya Rice Requirement (Photo Source: Pixabay)
Karnataka Rice Millers Assure Partial Fulfillment of Anna Bhagya Rice Requirement (Photo Source: Pixabay)

The Karnataka government is currently in search of rice suppliers for its Anna Bhagya scheme, which aims to provide subsidized rice to the underprivileged across the state. However, it has yet to reach out to the Karnataka Rice Millers' Association to discuss the cost and availability of rice from local mills.

According to Vice President of the association, N.R. Srinivas, rice available from millers within Karnataka is priced between Rs 35 and Rs 42 per kilogram, depending on the variety and region. Srinivas highlighted the importance of involving local millers in the Anna Bhagya scheme, as sourcing rice from other states could result in higher costs due to transportation expenses. He emphasized that the cost of rice from other states would likely be similar or even higher than the prices offered by local millers.

The statement made by Srinivas holds significance, especially in light of the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) constant urging of the Congress government to procure rice from within the state. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has previously stated that rice costs around Rs 55 per kilogram in Karnataka, making it impractical for the government to purchase rice locally for the Anna Bhagya program. The government intends to procure 2.28 lakh metric tonnes of rice on a monthly basis to provide an additional 5 kilograms of free rice to each individual holding a Below Poverty Line (BPL) card.

Srinivas pointed out that with approximately 2,000 rice mills spread across all districts of Karnataka, excluding Vijayapura, Bagalkot, and Hubballi-Dharwad, it would be more feasible and cost-effective to source rice from local millers. He also mentioned that the installed milling capacity of these mills exceeds the total paddy production in the state, which stands at around 30 lakh metric tonnes annually.

When asked about the ability of local millers to meet the required quantity, Srinivas explained that currently they may not be able to fulfill the full requirement, but they can certainly supply a partial amount. He emphasized that in order to achieve self-reliance in meeting future demands of the Anna Bhagya scheme, the government needs to plan effectively, involving farmers and millers.

In addition to requesting the government's consideration of local millers, the association has also urged the authorities to reinstate the custom milling rate (CMR). This rate ensures that millers receive fair compensation for their services in milling rice for government schemes, including the Anna Bhagya program. It has been reported that the government currently owes around Rs 20 crore in arrears to the millers.

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