Obstacles mount as Karnataka races against time to launch the Anna Bhagya Scheme

The Karnataka government is grappling with a formidable challenge as it strives to implement the Anna Bhagya scheme by July 1. The scheme, which guarantees subsidized grain to below-poverty line (BPL) families, has hit a roadblock due to the unavailability of the required quantity of rice. This setback arises from the Food Corporation of India’s (FCI) decision to halt the sale of rice to state governments, effective June 12. According to Food and Civil Supplies department estimates, Karnataka requires up to 4.45 lakh metric tonnes to distribute 10 kg of rice per person to all Priority Households (PHH).

As the Congress government in Karnataka endeavors to fulfill its promise of providing 10 Kg of rice per month to each member of BPL families, the obstacles surrounding sourcing and distribution have raised concerns about the scheme’s launch on the designated date. Despite making efforts to secure rice supplies from other states, Karnataka has managed to secure only 1.5 lakh metric tonnes, falling short of the monthly requirement of 2.28 lakh metric tonnes for the scheme. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah expressed his disappointment, revealing that only Chhattisgarh has assured the supply of 1.5 lakh metric tonnes of rice. Meanwhile, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have not provided any assurance of supply, posing further challenges to the implementation of the Anna Bhagya scheme. Transportation expenses further contribute to the financial burden, with a minimum expenditure of Rs 2.60 per kilogram of rice sourced from other states and potentially higher costs for rice from states like Chhattisgarh.

This comes after the Chief Minister accused the Union government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi of conspiring against the scheme, claiming that the FCI was instructed to halt rice sales to hinder the implementation of Anna Bhagya in Karnataka. In response, the FCI clarified that the restrictions on rice sales were aimed at regulating the rising prices in the market.

However, Karnataka has found a glimmer of hope in the Aam Admi Party (AAP) government in Punjab. A letter from Prithvi Reddy, Karnataka State Convenor of AAP, stated that he had discussed Karnataka’s requirements with Punjab CM Bhagwant Mann, who reacted positively and agreed in principle to supply the required rice to cover the shortage. This development comes as CM Siddaramaiah shared that efforts are underway to obtain the price list from key entities such as the National Co-operative Consumers Federation, National Agricultural Co-operative Marketing Federation, and the central pool. Furthermore, he disclosed that if the state decides to provide 2 kilograms of either Ragi or Jowar, the existing stock in Karnataka will be sufficient for a period of six months.


As the state continues its efforts to secure rice and explore alternative options, the successful implementation of the Anna Bhagya scheme remains to be determined. The coming days will test the Karnataka government’s resolve to fulfill its commitment to provide subsidized food and alleviate the hardships faced by its vulnerable population.


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