Centre to sell subsidised rice under Bharat brand | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Centre to sell subsidised rice under Bharat brand

Feb 03, 2024 01:44 AM IST

The government already sells subsidised Bharat Atta at ₹27.50 per kg and Bharat Dal at ₹60 per kg.

​The Union government will sell packaged subsidised rice for the general public under its Bharat brand of commodities from next week even as all traders dealing in the cereal have been asked to declare stocks of the staple held by them in fresh steps to tame high cereal inflation, an official said on Friday.

Higher costs of food impact poorer households more than the well-off since the former tend to spend a larger share of their of the monthly budget on food items (AFP)
Higher costs of food impact poorer households more than the well-off since the former tend to spend a larger share of their of the monthly budget on food items (AFP)

The Centre is not looking remove bans on export of key commodities and restrictions on trade “till prices come down”, Union food secretary Sanjeev Chopra told reporters, referring to speculation in markets that the government could ease some of its curbs on food trade. To boost supplies, the government banned overseas shipments of wheat in 2022 and that of rice and onion last year. These prohibitions are still in force.

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Read here: Ahead of Lok Sabha polls, Centre to sell Bharat brand subsidised staples

“The government will sell Bharat brand rice from next week at 29 a kg. We have prepared a heat map of places where rice inflation is high and agencies such as NAFED (which will market Bharat rice) will target those places,” the senior-most bureaucrat of the food department said.

Rice prices have risen by 14.5% in retail markets and 15.5% in wholesale markets over the last one year, Chopra said, prompting the government to take fresh steps to curb food inflation.

Chopra said the Centre has decided to sell subsidised ‘Bharat Rice’ at 29 per kg in the retail market through two cooperatives, the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Ltd (NAFED) and National Cooperative Consumers’ Federation of India Ltd (NCCF) as well as the state-backed retail chain Kendriya Bhandar. Bharat Rice will also be available on e-commerce platforms.

The Union government already sells Bharat Atta at 27.50 per kg and Bharat Dal (chickpea) at 60 per kg.

Retail inflation rose to a four-month high in December, driven by food articles. Cereals and vegetables were cheaper in December, compared to November, but there was no let-up in the growth of overall food prices. Food price inflation leapt to a staggering 9.53% in December, compared to 8.70% in the previous month.

Higher costs of food impact poorer households more than the well-off since the former tend to spend a larger share of their of the monthly budget on food items. Cereal prices registered a growth of nearly 10%, while prices of oils and fats declined by 14.98%. Vegetable inflation stood at 27.64% in December. Pulses inflation was at 20.73% from a year ago, December’s consumer-inflation data showed.

“We are now issuing orders that all the entities that are stocking rice would need to disclose their stocks on the portal of the food department. So the retailers, the big chain retailers, the wholesalers and the processors would all be required to disclose their stocks on the portals. They would need to disclose stocks in categories such as broken rice, non-basmati rice, parboiled rice and basmati rice,” Chopra said.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Zia Haq reports on public policy, economy and agriculture. Particularly interested in development economics and growth theories.

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