Centre rolls out subsidised ‘Bharat Atta’ at ₹27.50/kg ahead of Diwali | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

Centre rolls out subsidised ‘Bharat Atta’ at 27.50/kg ahead of Diwali

Nov 07, 2023 05:01 AM IST

Under the scheme, flour will be sold at a cut price of ₹27.50 per kilo, compared to the market price of ₹32-34 per kg.

New Delhi: The Union government on Monday launched packaged wheat flour at a subsidized rate that can be bought by all consumers, a move to keep a lid on food prices during the festive season when demand for commodities rises.

The launch of Bharat Atta (Twitter)
The launch of Bharat Atta (Twitter)

The plan involves releasing quarter of a million tonne of state-owned wheat to Kendriya Bhandar, a network of cooperative general stores, and the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation and National Cooperative Consumers’ Federation.

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These agencies will sell the flour, branded Bharat Atta, at a cut price of 27.50 a kilo, against a market price of 32-34 a kg. Flour sold through Kendriya Bhandar was earlier priced at 29.50.

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi has intervened each time to ensure high inflation doesn’t impact the common man. We had distributed cheap dal (pulses), tomato and onion by providing subsidy when their prices went up,” food, consumer affairs and commerce minister Piyush Goyal said, launching the scheme at Kartavya Path in New Delhi.

The subsidised flour will be available in stores run by Kendriya Bhandar, NAFED, NCCF and government cooperative outlets as well as food vans run by NAFED and NCCF. The food minister flagged off 100 such vans on Monday. These state agencies are getting wheat milled by firms tendered for the process. It usually costs large wheat millers 1.80 a kilo to grind grain into flour.

On Saturday, Modi announced that cereals will be provided free of cost to all 800 million beneficiaries entitled to subsidized food for the next five years at an election rally in Madhya Pradesh.

Battling high food prices, the government has banned wheat and rice, imposed a floor price of $800 on overseas shipments of onion and removed duties on import on pulses. The anti-inflation measures come ahead of key assembly elections in five states and a general election next year in which Modi will seek a third term in office.

Despite the ample harvest, the world’s second-largest wheat grower is facing high cereal inflation for at least 12 months. A bumper harvest should lead to falling prices. Cereal inflation continues to be in the double digits.

Retail inflation of wheat eased to 7.9% in September compared to 9.3% in August. In September last year, it retail price had risen 17.4%.

For the packaged wheat scheme, the government will offload 250,000 tonne of wheat at 21.50 a kilo under its open market sale scheme.

The fourth and final round of estimates of crop output for 2022-23, released by the agriculture ministry last week, showed foodgrain production was at a record high. However, wheat production stood at 110 million tonnes, down 1.7% from initial estimates of 112 million tonne.

To be sure, the final output estimate of the winter staple stands higher by 4.7% than last year’s output of 105.7 million tonne. The government releases quarterly projections of crop output every year.

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