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Central schemes to be hit

THE STATE Government?s apathetic attitude towards wheat procurement is bound to adversely hit various centrally funded welfare schemes aimed at providing subsidised or free grain to the poor.

india Updated: May 04, 2006 01:17 IST
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THE STATE Government’s apathetic attitude towards wheat procurement is bound to adversely hit various centrally funded welfare schemes aimed at providing subsidised or free grain to the poor.

In fact, politics is now being played even on the issue of wheat procurement and nobody seems to be bothered about the poor who get wheat at the rate of Rs 2 per kilogram (Antyodaya), Rs 4.65 per kilogram (BPL) and 10 kilogram free per month under the Annapurna scheme.

Instead of making any efforts to procure wheat required for the welfare schemes, the State Government has conveniently completed its duty by writing a letter to the Central Government giving details of its requirement of wheat and other food grains.    

All these welfare schemes are centrally funded but implemented through various agencies of the State Government and even the responsibility of procurement of wheat, storage, movement and distribution is on the State Government as the Centre provides only funds for the schemes.

The State Government which has so far hardly procured 35,000 tonnes of wheat against requirement of more than 27 lakh tonnes for the schemes besides the public distribution system (PDS), has no intention to  prevent private agencies and multinationals  from purchasing wheat from farmers at a price much higher than the Government’s minimum support price on the plea that farmers were getting better price for their produce.

Farmers are selling wheat to these agencies for Rs 800—  Rs 900 per quintal against the minimum support price of Rs 650. Contrary to this, a highly placed source told The Hindustan Times on the condition of anonymity that the farmers were getting much higher prices than ones offered by the Government for their produce. Thus, why should Government interfere if the farmers were getting benefit..