New Delhi: The Centre on Tuesday said any concession granted by states on the price of rice supplied under the public distribution system (PDS) over and above the subsidy provided by it will be borne by the state governments concerned.
The assertion by the Centre effectively ruled out any grant to the Orissa government for the state’s additional burden of about Rs800 crore a year for supplying subsidy on rice to poor families over and above that provided by the Central government under its public distribution system.
“The difference between the Central issue price under the targetted public distribution system ... and the selling price of rice by a state government at a lower price would be additional subsidy on rice provided by the state government concerned, including Orissa,” finance minister Pranab Mukherjee said in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha.
The Centre’s decision may also hit some other states like Tamil Nadu, which have been supplying heavily-subsidised rice to their people.
Mukherjee was replying to a question on the share of the Centre in the subsidised rice distribution scheme announced by the Orissa government.
The Orissa government has been supplying 25 kg of rice to each poor family at Rs2 per kg since August 2008.
The entitled poor families, in excess of 55 lakh, include the poorest of the poor as well as those above the poverty line in three of the state’s most backward districts.
At present, under the PDS, the Centre provides rice at Rs5.65 per kg for below poverty line families, at Rs3 for the AAY category (poorest of the poor) and Rs 8.30 for above poverty line households.