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A Rice War!: Centre Blocks Karnataka’s Government's Anna Bhagya Scheme

  • Posted on June 22, 2023
  • News
  • By Stiti pragnya padhy
  • 236 Views
Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah



The Congress government in Karnataka seems to be upset with the Centre due to the tussle regarding rice for the state's widely promoted  'Anna Bhagya' initiative. This could possibly fuel a series of anticipated political and administrative confrontations between Bengaluru and New Delhi.


The Centre-Karnataka Tussle

Post an overwhelming triumph in the Karnataka election, the Congress party has set an assertive tone in reaffirming its ideological stance within the state, which can be clearly seen in its actions such as the removal of chapters about the RSS founder from school textbooks as well as the decision to get rid of the contentious anti-cow slaughter law.



The Congress government in Karnataka seems to be upset with the Centre due to the tussle regarding rice for the state's widely promoted  'Anna Bhagya'
Karnataka requires to procure additional 2.28 lakh metric tonnes of rice to launch 'Anna Bhagya' scheme


Why Is Rice The Reason for The Fight?

During the Karnataka election campaign, Congress stressed on the introduction of five welfare programs once they get elected. One of those schemes was providing 10 kilograms of rice to families below the poverty line, particularly those who are living in the most destitute conditions. As expected, from the moment the Siddaramaiah cabinet came to power it showed its interest in the implementation of the five welfare measures, which includes the rice scheme. 


Currently, the central government already provides 5 kilograms of rice to the below poverty line (BPL) families through the State's existing Anna Bhagya initiative. As soon as the Siddaramaiah cabinet came to power, the state government made an estimate that approximately 2.28 lakh metric tons of rice would be required each month to provide an additional 5 kilograms of rice, in addition to the central government's allocation, to BPL families.


The Karnataka state government conveyed its intention to purchase rice through the Open Market Sale Scheme (Direct Purchase) (OMSS-D) from the Food Corporation of India (FCI) at the FCI's reserve price, without an e-auction, as stated in a letter dated June 9. On June 12, the Karnataka government received confirmation from the FCI that the sale of rice had been approved at a reserve price of Rs. 3,400 per quintal. 



 Congress stressed on the introduction of five welfare programs once they get elected. One of those schemes was providing 10 kilograms of rice to families below the poverty
KPCC president DK Shivakumar and Former Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah (File Photo)



In order to fulfil the requirements of the Anna Bhagya scheme, the state government also obtained two orders from the FCI General Manager, approving the release of 2,08,425 metric tonnes and 13,819 metric tonnes of rice for the month of July. But, on June 13, the central government's Consumer Affairs Ministry issued an order instructing the FCI to cease the sale of rice to state governments under the OMSS (D) scheme, with exceptions made only for northeastern states, hilly regions, and areas affected by natural disasters or law-and-order crises. 


This decision has curtailed the ability of the Karnataka government to procure rice through the OMSS (D) scheme, raising a question on the implementation of the state's welfare programs as well as leading to the ongoing Centre- State conflict.



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