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Karnataka: ‘Anna Bhagya, Modi govt playing vendetta politics on food security’

Karnataka: 'Anna Bhagya, Modi govt playing vendetta politics on food security'
Photo Credit : IANS

Karnataka: Congress on Monday accused the BJP-led central government of playing vendetta politics on food security for not providing food grains for party’s Anna Bhagya scheme in Karnataka.

The Karnataka government is launching the scheme today that will transfer Rs 170 every month to each of the 4.42 crore persons.

“The Modi government has played petty and vindictive politics on food security for the poor in Karnataka. It tried to sabotage the Karnataka Congress’s Anna Bhagya guarantee. But beginning today the state government has given a befitting reply even as it continues in its efforts to get additional rice,” Congress General Secretary Jairam Ramesh, in a tweet attaching his statement, said.

Ramesh, who is also the party’s Communication Incharge said, “The Anna Bhagya guarantee of the Congress government in Karnataka was to provide 10 kg of rice free to all families Below Poverty Line (BPL).”

He said that this (Anna Bhagya Scheme) meant a doubling of the entitlement.

He said that on June 12, 2023 Food Corporation of India (FCI) had agreed to supply the additional rice required for which the state government had agreed to pay Rs 34 per kg.

Ramesh, who is also a Rajya Sabha MP, alleged that just a day later the Modi government cancelled the approval while allowing FCI to continue selling rice at Rs 20 per kg to ethanol producers.

“However, the Congress Government in Karnataka will not be shaken in its resolve to implement its guarantee. Therefore for the time being, it is launching a scheme today that will transfer Rs 170 every month to each of the 4.42 crore persons in the state covered by ration cards,” the Congress leader said.

He said that this transfer is equivalent to the amount the state government would have paid the FCI had the Modi government not intervened at the last minute and stopped the sale of rice even though there are ample buffer stocks available.

Taking a dig at the government, the Congress leader also said that after preventing the Karnataka government from going ahead with its purchase of rice from the FCI the Modi government asked the FCI to e-auction rice to private traders with the condition that Karnataka could not buy from them.

“But this e-auction has flopped miserably and more than 99.9 per cent of the rice offered for e-auction remains unsold. In any case, it is clear that the Modi government has greater faith in private traders to control inflation than in state governments and the public distribution system.”

Ramesh said that the cash transfer scheme launched today by the Karnataka government is a befitting reply to the Modi government’s vindictive policies in regard to food security for the poor especially in a state where the BJP was comprehensively rejected.

“These policies do not make for cooperative federalism that the PM likes to boast about. Instead they reflect confrontational federalism at its petty worst,” Ramesh added.

Meanwhile, Karnataka Congress incharge and party General Secretary Randeep Singh Surjewala also took a dig at the government saying: “Modi government’s ‘anti-poor’ DNA is obvious. Traders’ won’t buy 3,86,000 tonnes of FCI Rice being sold but BJP won’t permit Congress government of Karnataka to buy and supply 2,28,000 tonnes of rice from FCI for supplying to SC, ST, OBC, poor and BPL. Shame on you BJP.”

The Congress has been critical of the Central government after the FCI denied supplying rice to the Karnataka government for one of its five guarantees in the southern state.

The Congress had promised Anna Bhagya scheme in the state after voted to power.

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