Open market sugar for BPL scheme - The New Indian Express

Open market sugar for BPL scheme

Published: 13th September 2013 07:58 AM

Last Updated: 13th September 2013 08:14 AM

It has not yet been called “Sharkara Bhagya’’ (sugar benefit) along the lines of existing schemes of Anna Bhagya (rice benefit) and Ksheera Bhagya (milk benefit). But the state government has announced a fresh scheme to give one kg of sugar a month at a subsidised rate of Rs 13.50 to each of the 98 lakh below poverty line (BPL) families from October.

The subsidy for this scheme will be about Rs 200 crore a year. The state exchequer is already expending Rs 4,200 crore for Anna Bhayga, which is rice at Rs 1 per kg for the BPL, and Rs 400 crore for Ksheera Bhagya, where about one crore children get 150ml flavoured milk thrice a week. The cabinet sub-committee on sugar procurement on Thursday decided to buy sugar from co-operative factories at Rs 30.75 per kg for the purpose. So, the subsidy per kg will be Rs 17.25.

Sugar Minister Prakash B Hukkeri told reporters that the BPL families can avail this benefit at fair price shops.

The food and civil supplies department will have to procure 98 lakh kg of sugar per month for the purpose.

“The government will buy the sugar from the 11 co-operative factories and two government factories,” Hukkeri said. 

Strongly defending the buying price of Rs 30.75 per kg when the market price is hovering around Rs 28 to Rs 29, he said, “Taking into consideration the cost of transportation, storage and distribution, the price of sugar in the open market will touch around Rs 31 per kg. Also, any extra income accrued by the co-operative sugar factories by selling their product at Rs 30.75 per kg, will ultimately be transferred to the farmers.”

The sub-committee, headed by law minister T B Jayachandra, has food and civil supplies minister Dinesh Gundu Rao as a member, other than Hukkeri.

The minister said the government is keeping its budget promises. It has constituted the Sugarcane Control Board with the sugar minister as the chairman and the agriculture minister as its co-chairman. The 15-member board, in its first meeting held recently, has decided to fix the procurement price at Rs 2,400 per tonne of sugarcane for the farmers in one instalment, he added.

In the wake of criticism and protests by the Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha and other organisations of farmers which are demanding Rs 3,000 per tonne, the minister said: “The Rs 2,400 per tonne of sugarcane price recommended by the board is only temporary and it may go up.”

The minimum support price (MSP) was fixed by the board after going through all other factors, including production and transportation cost per tonne of sugarcane with 9.5 per cent of recovery.

“The price is almost the amount being paid to the farmers in the neighbouring Maharashtra.”  Hukkeri said the government has decided to revive three sugar mills by infusing capital.

The government has decided to release Rs12 crore to Brahmavar Sugar Factory to pay salaries, while another Rs 15 crore of financial support will be given to Pandavapura Sugar Factory.

“There is also a proposal to revive the MySugar factory located in Mandya by sanctioning additional grants,” the minister added.

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