Hyderabad: The state’s bifurcation has caused yet another problem for the Telangana state government, this time in the form of procurement of 10 lakh metric tonnes of rice for the Public Distribution System.
After the Central government altered its policy of rice procurement by Food Corporation of India from 75 per cent levy and 25 per cent non-levy to 25 per cent levy, and 75 per cent non-levy, the residuary AP state had taken some steps like non-insistence of MSP (Minimum Support Price), certificates to millers for lifting the non-levy stocks etc.
But Telangana, which produces 10 lakh tonnes of boiled rice out of total 30 lakh tonnes of production, may have to face a problem this year especially as the paddy crop area has reduced due to inadequate power supply, no rains and also due to no irrigation in command areas in north Telangana region.
The new Central government guidelines on procurement of food grains was intended to reduce the financial burden on FCI for Public Distribution System and allow respective state governments to frame their own policies on procurement to meet their local demands.
However, when it co-mes to Telangana, the FCI will now restrict its procurement to only 25 per cent, forcing the st-ate government to enter into further procurement to meet its needs.
“It is a precarious problem that the new-born state is facing. We wanted to appraise the state government on how to overcome the problem but it seems there is no one to listen to us,” said T. Devender Reddy of the Telangana Rice Millers Association.
With the government is not inclined to come out with fresh guidelines, traders other than rice millers may enter the market and purchase the rice for exporting.
Most Hyderabadis prefer to consume Sona Masuri variety of rice which is not grown in Telangana. Normally traders buy Sona Masuri from Guntur, Kurnool and Gangavathi area of Karnataka and sell it in Hyderabad.
Now, due to the tax burden on account of the state’s bifurcation, the open market prices of Sona Masuri varieties may go up from November, said a source in the civil supplies department.
As far as ordinary Masuri varieties supplied under the Public Distribution System are concerned, procurement will still be a problem as the government is not inclined to change its rules, Mr Devender Reddy added.
He also said that the two-day in a week power holiday had been extended to the rice milling industry, which was unusual. “If we have to buy more stocks we have to pay more taxes to the state government; in a way the government will be losing revenue as well as face an additional financial burden to meet its demand for the Public Distribution System,” Mr Reddy added....