May also seek more subsidy on Tur dal, import of sugar.
States will propose to the Centre to increase the number of beneficiaries — according to the latest estimates of the number of poor people — under the Antyodaya scheme, which provides rice and wheat at a concessional price.
According to food ministry data till September-October 2009, there are about 105 million Antyodaya and below poverty line (BPL) card-holders in the country.
On February 6, the states at a meeting with the Centre on the issue of price rise will also pitch for increase in subsidy on tur dal and the import of sugar. At present, there is a subsidy of Rs 10 per kg on tur dal, which sells at Rs 55-65 a kg in the open market.
States are also expected to make a strong argument in favour of a special mechanism to keep a tab on the stocks maintained by retailers on the lines of wholesalers.
To combat food inflation, which was at 17.40 per cent last week, the states want the Centre to make available essential commodities such as sugar, palm oil, tur dal, rice and wheat through the public distribution system, with an increased subsidy. They also want more imports, wherever feasible, through central government agencies.
|COMBATING FOOD INFLATION
|* The Antyodaya scheme provides rice and wheat at a concessional price
|* States are meeting the Centre on price rise on February 6
|* The states may also pitch for increase in subsidy on tur dal and the import of sugar
|* An argument may also be made in favour of a special mechanism to keep a tab on stocks maintained by retailers
|* The states want the Centre to make available essential commodities like sugar, palm oil, tur dal, rice and wheat through public distribution system with a raised subsidy
|* They also want more imports, wherever feasible, through central government agencies
|* Centre may reiterate its call on tightening the noose around speculators and hoarders
“The Centre is likely to reiterate its call on tightening the noose around speculators and hoarders to check food inflation. The Centre may not increase subsidy on tur dal or other essential commodities at the moment, but may consider states’ plea to increase the number of beneficiaries under the Antyodaya scheme,” a senior government official told Business Standard. He added the Centre would have to bear the additional subsidy, a decision on which would be possible in the ensuing Budget.”
The official said certain developed states and the ones in the Northeast might demand the extension of minimum support price on pulses and oilseeds, apart from paddy and wheat. This, the states argue, will ensure fair price for the common cultivator. A large number of states reeling under water scarcity due to insufficient rain may call for stringent Budgetary and administrative steps.