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Modi govt 'sabotaging' Anna Bhagya scheme in Karnataka, says Congress

Congress on Sunday alleged that the Centre is "sabotaging" its Anna Bhagya guarantee in Karnataka and asserted that the 10 kg free rice scheme of state government would be implemented at the earliest

Modi, Narendra Modi, PM Modi

Photo: PTI

Press Trust of India New Delhi
The Congress on Sunday alleged that the Centre is "sabotaging" its Anna Bhagya guarantee in Karnataka and asserted that the 10 kg free rice scheme of its state government would be implemented at the earliest, "come what may".
The Opposition party also asked why is that the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Ann Yojana is not a 'revdi (freebie)', whereas the Congress guarantee of 10 kg free rice through the Anna Bhagya 2.0 scheme "vilified and sabotaged".
In a statement, Congress general secretary in-charge communications Jairam Ramesh alleged that it is nothing but Karnataka's 'durbhagya' (misfortune) that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is "punishing the poor of the state for voting to secure their future".
From January 1, 2023 till May 24, 2023, the BJP-led state government in Karnataka alone lifted more than 95 per cent of the rice procured by all state governments under the Open Market Sale Scheme (Domestic) at a rate of Rs 3,400 per quintal, presumably with "Modi-ji's 'aashirwaad'", Ramesh said.
"Once, the Congress government was formed in Karnataka, as threatened by BJP president JP Nadda, this 'aashirwaad' has been withdrawn at break-neck speed," he alleged.
Ramesh argued that regardless of claims otherwise made by the Modi government, it is now "absolutely clear" that the order of June 13 by the Union Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Food Distribution discontinuing OMSS(D) for states was targeted at mainly one state, Karnataka, that procured more than 95 per cent of all rice bought by state governments under the scheme this year.
"Actually, the Food Corporation of India (FCI) had issued orders for sale of rice under OMSS (D) on June 12, 2023, based on the requests of the Congress-led state government in Karnataka made on June 6, 2023 and June 9, 2023. Yet a day later, the Union Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Food Distribution discontinued the OMSS (D) for states," he said.
"Clearly, this was targeted at sabotaging the implementation of the Anna Bhagya 2.0 scheme guaranteed by the Congress to the people of Karnataka," Ramesh alleged.
Immediately, on June 14, the FCI general manager Karnataka withdrew the earlier order of sale of rice on June 12, he said

"Not only that, the Chairman and Managing Director of Food Corporation of India (FCI) in a press conference on June 23, 2023 said that conditions will be placed such that private traders cannot sell to another state. Isn't this a clear case of sabotage?" Ramesh said

He alleged that this "brazen move of the Modi government" not only targets the additional 5 kg free rice guaranteed by the Congress government in Karnataka, bringing it to a total of 10 kg free rice, it also affects the basic entitlement of 5 kg that is being given to an additional 39 lakh below poverty line beneficiaries by Karnataka government beyond what is already allocated by the Union government under the National Food Security Act.
The fact is that the FCI has more than enough stocks to meet Karnataka's and the country's needs but the Modi government is trying its very best to close every single avenue for the Karnataka government to fulfil its guarantee to the people of Karnataka, Ramesh alleged.
If there is a depletion of rice stocks as claimed by the Modi government, why is it that the allocation and lifting of rice from the FCI's central pool stock for ethanol production and blending of petrol continues at the rate of Rs 2,000 per quintal, he asked.
"Why is it that 1.5L MT of rice is allocated for production of ethanol this year if stocks have depleted? Is ethanol production more important than the food security of the people of Karnataka?" Ramesh said.
This is not the first time that the prime minister has opposed the schemes of the Congress that benefit the poor, he claimed.
"On August 13, 2013, then Chief Minister of Gujarat, Narendra Modi, wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh opposing the Food Security Bill. It is the same National Food Security Act implemented by the Congress party that came to the rescue of the country's poor at the time of the COVID-19 pandemic distress," Ramesh asserted.
Under the renamed package of Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Ann Yojana, 80 crore people got free food grains and pulses, he said in his statement and added that this would not have been possible without the architecture of the National Food Security Act and the Public Distribution System implemented by the Congress-led UPA government.
"Why is that the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Ann Yojana is not a 'revdi', whereas the Congress Guarantee of 10 kgs free rice through the Anna Bhagya 2.0 scheme is vilified and sabotaged?" he said.
Ramesh stressed that the Congress government in Karnataka will do everything possible to ensure the rights of the people of Karnataka are protected, and the guarantee of Anna Bhagya 2.0 with 10 kg free rice is implemented at the earliest, "come what may".
A day after the Centre refused to give rice to Karnataka, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Saturday had said the state had invited quotations from three central agencies to supply rice for the Anna Bhagya scheme offering five kg extra rice to the BPL families.
He had said the negotiations for prices were underway with these agencies.
Siddaramaiah had also slammed the Centre for refusing to provide rice to his government for the scheme which is one of the five guarantees, that was supposed to start immediately after the Congress came to power in Karnataka.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Jun 25 2023 | 2:52 PM IST

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