‘Brand Bharat’: First Dal & Atta, Now Centre Launches Subsidised Rice at Rs 29 Per Kg sattaex.com

The central government has launched ‘Bharat Chawal’ at a subsidised rate of Rs 29 per kg, after announcing ‘Bharat Dal’ and ‘Bharat Atta’ to ensure prices remain stable and people can buy these staples at affordable rates. The announcement was made by minister of food, consumer affairs and public distribution, Piyush Goyal, with barely a couple of months left for the Lok Sabha elections in April-May.

“At just Rs 60 per kg, ‘Bharat Dal’ was made available. This good quality chana dal is selling at a brisk pace and the demand is rising week after week. The brand has now penetrated people’s homes. ‘Bharat Atta’ at a cost of just Rs 27 per kg has also been made available across the country. In packs of 5 kg, the atta was also launched from Kartavya Path. And today, under the leadership of the prime minister, we are launching ‘Bharat Chawal’ at a cost of Rs 29 per kg; this will be made available in the retail market,” Goyal said while launching the key initiative from Kartavya Path in Delhi.

With pulses, especially toor and moong, threatening to breach the Rs 100 mark in retail markets, the central government launched the ‘Bharat Dal’ scheme in July 2023. Through this, chana dal was made available at Rs 60 per kg and Rs 55 for a 3 kg. ‘Bharat Dal’ is provided to the Indian Army, CAPF, state governments and directly to consumers via more than 3,500 retail outlets.

Just as the chana buffer was converted into chana dal, a decision has been taken to convert the moong buffer into moong dal for distribution at subsidised prices. India relies on imports to meet domestic demand for pulses, which is one of the reasons for inflationary tendencies.

In November 2023, the ‘Bharat Atta’ scheme was launched for retail consumption at Rs 27.50 per kg. A total of 2.5 LMT of buffer wheat stock was allocated for semi-government and cooperative bodies like the Kendriya Bhandar, NCCF, and NAFED at Rs 21.50 for converting it into atta followed by distribution in the open market.

Inflation, however, is a key concern for any government, especially during election season, and the latest initiative is another step to cushion the impact of price rise, particularly among the poor and lower middle classes. Goyal said whether it is dal or atta or chawal, the Centre provides subsidies through the price stabilisation fund so that these remain affordable.

He said the ‘Bharat Chawal’ is the latest addition to the government’s ambitious ‘Bharat’ brand. The price stabilisation fund (PSF) was created in 2014-2015, and is one of the most important tools to ensure fair prices for farmers as well as consumers, he added.

“I am happy to inform you that in the past years, the government has spent Rs 27,500 crore through the price stabilisation fund that was borne 100% by the central government,” the union minister said.

He further said the government used these funds to intervene in the markets from time to time – procuring produce for farmers so that they get a fair price during a possible price crash and, at the same time, supply subsidised staples to consumers to protect them from price rise. This, along with the reform of the price gathering mechanism has proved to be valuable in fighting inflation, he added.

Earlier, while the price was collected from 100 locations, it is collected from 550 locations, including districts in far-flung areas every day, Goyal said. Reiterating that the government has extended the PM Garib Kalyan Yojana by five more years till December 2028, he added that 81 crore families now have access to free food grains through 550 fair price shops.

“Due to the PMGKY, every poor family is able to save Rs 1,000 to Rs 2,000 every month,” the minister said, adding, “under this scheme, for the past three years, 81 crore poor brothers and sisters have been getting free food grains every month. The ‘one nation, one ration card’ policy has ensured that you can enter into any fair price shop at any time and access the grain in any quantity. There are approximately 5.5 lakh fair price shops in the country.”

Taking a swipe at the previous governments, he said, “Whenever the threat of inflation hovered over the country, previous governments never acknowledged the same as their responsibility. Yesterday, Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi told the Lok Sabha how previous governments never considered it as their responsibility to tackle double digit inflation – 11%, 12%, 14%. In 1974, the rate of inflation crossed 30%. Previous governments would make some or the other excuse and ignore their responsibility of providing relief to the poor and middle classes. Many tall leaders made many claims before 2014, but they did not take any strong steps to assure the poor, lower middle and middle classes would not be hurt by price rise.”

He added: “Modi ji ki guarantee hai, Bharat ko viksit banana hai, Modi ji ki guarantee hai Bharat ka har kisan ko samruddh banana, Bharat ke 140 crore deshwasiyon ko ek ujjwal bhavishya dene ki guarantee.. Modi ji ke yeh guarantee hum sab ki hai.”

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