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Centre refusing rice under OMSS to keep stocks, check price: Piyush Goyal

The politics over the supply of rice to Karnataka heated up on Tuesday with the ruling Congress and the opposition BJP staging demonstrations in various parts of the state

Union Minister Piyush Goyal

Union Minister Piyush Goyal

PTI

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The Centre has refused to provide rice to several states from its stocks to ensure that the price of the grain does not increase in the open market and people continue to get it at affordable rates, Union Minister Piyush Goyal said on Tuesday, amid a political row over the refusal of rice supply to Karnataka. A committee of secretaries decided that the stock of rice at central reserves be kept to "serve 140 crore people of the country" and states can purchase the rice from the market if they need, the Union Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution told reporters at the BJP headquarters when asked for his comment on protests in Karnataka over the supply of rice.
 
The politics over the supply of rice to Karnataka heated up on Tuesday with the ruling Congress and the opposition BJP staging demonstrations in various parts of the state.
 
The Congress staged protests in all district headquarters of the state against the BJP-led Centre for allegedly denying rice for the Karnataka government's Anna Bhagya scheme.
 
On the other hand, several BJP leaders including former CM Basavaraj Bommai were detained while holding protests in some parts of the state against the Congress government's alleged failure to provide 10 kg rice to each member of the BPL family.
The Centre said it cannot provide the additional five kg though Karnataka said it was ready to buy it from the central institutions such as Food Corporation of India, Central Warehousing Corporation and NAFED.
 
Recently, the union government discontinued the sale of rice and wheat from the central pool under the Open Market Sale Scheme (OMSS) to state governments.
 
"I have received demands for rice from Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Andhra Pradesh. Various states keep demanding rice in huge quantities. But we have refused (to give rice to) all of them,” Goyal said.
“We want that the rice stock which is with India (government)...so that there is no rise in price (of rice) in the country and the rice is sold at a cheaper rate in the open market in every nook and corner of the country. The country's 140 crore people have to buy rice,” the minister added.
 
The Centre releases surplus grains from its stocks under the open market sale scheme (OMSS) to increase the supply of wheat and rice and arrest price rise in the open market.

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First Published: Jun 20 2023 | 11:52 PM IST

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