New Delhi, 6 February: In a bid to provide relief to consumers amid a 15 per cent rise in retail prices of the grain in the past one year, the government on Tuesday launched 'Bharat Chawal' at a subsidized rate of Rs 29 per kg.
Launching the subsidized rice available in 5 kg and 10 kg packs, Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Piyush Goyal said the government is making efforts to ensure that daily food items are available to the common people at affordable rates. .
“When wholesale intervention (to control prices) was not benefiting many people, retail intervention under the Price Stabilization Fund (PSF) was initiated,” Goyal said.
He said as part of the retail intervention, rice will be retailed at Rs 29 per kg under the 'Bharat brand' to provide relief to middle class consumers and the poor.
Each kg of 'Bharat Chawal' will contain 5 per cent broken rice.
Goyal said the government's efforts have already helped in bringing down the prices of tomato and onion sharply.
“Ever since we started selling 'Bharat Atta', wheat inflation has been zero in the last six months. We will see the same effect in rice,” the minister said and emphasized that the prices of the items going on the plates of middle class people are quite stable.
Goyal said, “The government is active in providing daily needs at affordable rates.”
He also flagged off 100 mobile vans that will sell 'Bharat Chawal' and also distributed 5 kg packs to five beneficiaries.
Food Corporation of India (FCI) will provide 5 lakh tonnes of rice to two cooperative societies – National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Limited (NAFED) and National Cooperative Consumers Federation of India (NCCF) as well as retail chain Kendriya Bhandar. First stage.
These agencies will pack the rice in 5 kg and 10 kg packs and retail through their outlets under the 'Bharat' brand. Rice will also be sold through e-commerce platforms.
The government has resorted to retail sale of FCI rice after receiving a lackluster response to the sale of rice to bulk users at flat rates through the Open Market Sale Scheme (OMSS).
The government is hopeful of getting a good response for 'Bharat Chawal' as it is getting for 'Bharat Atta' which is sold through the same agencies at Rs 27.50 per kg and 'Bharat Chana' at Rs 60 per kg. going.
Sharing his personal experience, Goyal said that he has started using 'Bharat Dal' and 'Bharat Atta', and both of them are delicious.
“Now, I have bought 'Bharat Rice'. This will also be of good quality.”
Asked whether an accurate analysis has been done regarding the average price of rice as there are multiple varieties in the market, Goyal said, “It has been analyzed correctly… This is a proactive government.”
Despite restrictions on exports and bumper production in 2023-24, retail prices of rice are still not under control.
The government has asked retailers, wholesalers, processors and large retail chains to disclose their stocks to prevent hoarding.
Ministers of State for Consumer Affairs Sadhvi Niranjan Jyoti and Ashwini Choubey, Food Secretary Sanjeev Chopra, Consumer Affairs Secretary Rohit Kumar Singh and Food Corporation of India (FCI) CMD Ashok K Meena, among others, were present at the launch of the rice.
– Piyush Goyal (@PiyushGoyal) 6 February 2024